It was the year 2008, when I first saw the world (Literal mula sa eroplano, Hahaha!) leaving from Manila-Philippines to Saudi Arabia for work. I never planned to work here but opportunities at that time were knocking on my door. And I can still remember how I eagerly wanted to get a job abroad. Life in the Philippines is so hard when you don’t work or no work or even have one but still not enough for life (for sure relate much lahat ng Pinoy sa FEELS na’to!).
So, moving on I landed in Riyadh City, KSA and had my first training there for 10 months. I work in the retail industry, a fashion house for a woman clothing brand. My job is to assist customers and do store display and I was doing great on my performance. The company promoted me to a higher position as Area Visual Merchandiser. But they sent me to the western side in Jeddah City to look out other branches. I stayed there for a year or more and my work required to travel weekly. In addition, I already traveled to Doha, Qatar for 3 days of work training last 2010 and a 5 days holiday in Dubai, UAE last 2016. So, I can say that I started to enjoy traveling since then.
But again, the company moved me to another region. The Eastern province where I live now. At present, I’m in Al Ahsa City, two hours’ drive from the capital region, Dammam and 4 hours’ drive from the central capital, Riyadh. But before that, I was first sent to Al Khobar, Dharan and Dammam City to look over the stores which were newly opened at that time. I was like an “NPA” a person with NO PERMANENT ADDRESS those times, Hahaha!
And now I’m living in Hofuf, Al Ahsa City for 9 years and though I am based here. I still get to travel sometimes anywhere in the kingdom for work and leisure. I have family and relatives here so, whenever I wanted to visit them. I just go and explore the beautiful Saudi Arabia which I never thought, back home. Maybe some of you guys can get my point. Most people think that this country has nothing to offer aside from Oil, desert and camel.
Well in my 11 years here, I’ve seen many stunning places and attractions already which I can recommend to everyone. The Central part offers modern lifestyle, skyscrapers in Riyadh and excites your adventurous side with their Rocky Mountains and deserts in Tumama. The East pleasures your old spirit and lets you experience the vibes of multi-culture in Dammam and Alkhobar. The West feeds your stomach with their fresh seafood from the red sea in Jeddah and their neighbor cities let your faith gets deeper and tell you history in the holy places of Makkah and Madinah. While the South let your eyes see their beautiful mountains and greens in Abha and Albaha and will grant your winter sonata wish list in Tabuk and Ar-ar region, etc.
Nowadays, life in Saudi Arabia for us as expats is quite difficult but still thankful. Since the Saudization started last year. Many of our OFWs had to decide to go home because the kingdom focuses on their own as part of 2030 visions of the country. And we understand that, although some of our KABABAYANS still feel that loss. Saudi Arabia had so many contributions to every nationality who have worked here and still working like me. I am so blessed that I still have work and get paid rightly. I can say that I am well-compensated and this is one of the reasons why I can’t just leave the country. I am hoping for the best and I believe that “Timing is everything”.
“10 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN TRAVELING WITH MY MOTHER…”
I officially started my travel bucket list last July of 2018 when I and my mother traveled to South East Asia. Actually, it was not the original plan because I wanted to go alone as a backpacker. But I only got 30 days to leave and my mum’s birthday is only 2 months ahead which is September from my travel date. So I thought to surprise her instead and give her an early gift. And that’s where things changed to Plan B. So, I showed her the tickets and it was an epic. Her reaction was super happy and full of excitements. It was her dream to visit Malaysia and Singapore but I told her that we’re also going to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam and she was just speechless. Traveling with your parent/s is not easy but interesting and fun. You’ll get to realize many things, such as the following:
1. I LEARNED TO HAVE MORE PATIENCE THAN WHAT I USUALLY DO AT HOME.
My mum is a 58-year-old widow and she’s already having this degenerative health conditions. One example is “Osteo Arthritis” and expects that your parent/s will complain about this while on travel. So, don’t make the situation complicated by topping the problem. Always make a solution ready like get her medication or take a rest for a while. They also get to be more irritated with the noise and crowd. So, at least have the situation diverted into something fun like take them a picture or selfie with you (Nakatulong sa sit wasyon namin yun, Wag lang pahalata LOL).
2. MAKE YOUR TRIP WELL-PLANNED. Especially, THE ROUTES AND ACTIVITIES.
In our case, I organized everything well and booked everything ahead of time. But you have to know that life on the road is unexpected. So, there are some struggles might happen while on travel like the climate temperature. I remember in Bangkok, the weather is twice hotter than in Manila. My mom just wanted to cancel other activity I have booked for us that day because she can’t really go on with the extreme heat anymore. The lesson here is smartly choosing an activity that comes with good ambiance and weather too. Don’t go with mountain hiking or crazy adventures if you’re with your parent/s.
3. I LEARNED TO BE “THE BOSS OR THE PARENT” ONLY FOR A WHILE.
A Boss is the one who leads the group or a company. Someone who controls almost everything on his hand. Just like our parent/s right? They control and manage almost everything in the household and in our life as well. Well, in this particular situation while traveling with them. You as the child should have a clear understanding with your parent/s regarding, WHO takes care of the whole trip. And it should be YOU, simply because you’re the planner. Your parent/s will only rely on what you say but wait, that’s not enough. You need to be careful controlling every situation NOT to the extent that they feel disrespected. Tell them the itinerary and all happening, etc. Most especially, they shouldn’t be out from your sight at times while on tour.
4. I LEARNED TO HAVE A “SLEEPLESS BODY”.
Sounds funny right? But it’s true guys. When you’re traveling with your parent/s. Expect that you won’t be able to sleep completely due to some instances. Like they’re either can’t sleep or something bothers them such as having body aches and they would tell you to massage them. And another thing is privacy, well it’s none of their business but if you think you can do anything. Sorry but the answer is NO and don’t start a fight with them. Remember, you sleep under one roof in the hotel and if you just booked one room for two or more. Then never look for privacy, it’s okay and also since you’re the boss. It is your responsibility to check them first. If they have eaten already or taken their medication and blah, blah, blah! And if not, then you need to provide those if they want it. The worst scenario is if they crave for something and you have to go outside at night to get it done (Okay lang parent/s mo naman eh! LOL).
5. I LEARNED MY “PRIORITY FIRST” CHECKLIST.
If you’re that kind of traveler who always checks they’re WHERE ABOUTS and stuff? Then you probably wanted to put your parent/s always on the top. As they are your first priority and keeping them safe is always your main concern. Our parents always tell us that they will protect us and cover us first before themselves from any harm. But what I realized whenever we go somewhere was to let my mum always come first before me (Awww, so sweet!).
6. BE A TOUR GUIDE OR SECOND WHAT THE TOUR GUIDE DOES.
Most of the time, your parent/s won’t listen to the tour guide. So, the tendency they’ll miss some important information which can misguide them from the whole activity. You as the part-controller, you should act and second what the tour guide is saying and then impart it to your parent/s directly. The best you can do is being closer to the guide, listen to him carefully and guide your parent/s straight away. In this case, you and your parent/s won’t miss out anything.
7. I LEARNED TO REALIZE HOW I BECAME MORE RESPONSIBLE.
When you’re traveling with your parent/s. There are moments that you’ll realize what they have done and sacrificed for you. To raise a child is never been easy for any parent/s. And while along the way, you’ll start to feel that same too for them. You’re becoming responsible to every decision you make with them while on travel. You probably want nothing for them but everything good with extra care and that’s how exactly our parent/s does and will continue to do for us.
8. I BECAME MORE EXPRESSIVE TO MY MOTHER.
Well anyway, all of us are equal as the child to our parent/s. And for them, their love and care for their children is 100% equally divided in all aspects. Maybe some parent/s has a favorite child but I believe that at the end of the day. Our parent/s always gives and shows us their unconditional love in many ways. But when it comes to us as a child. In my opinion, the love of a mother is a lot different than a father. She expresses it in almost everything. She kisses us even in public places or hugs us wherever they want. And that’s how exactly I became when we’re on travel. I feel that my mum needs me every time. She looks for me all the time and I didn’t disappoint her throughout the trip. I showed her my extra care and love and whenever we’re in a crowded place. I always make it to the point that she’s safe. I hold her hands all the time; massage her foot whenever she feels the pain from walking around, I tell her “I LOVE YOU” both in verbal or in Chat and etc.
9. I LEARNED TO BECOME A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER.
Yes, guys, this is what happened to me when we’re on travel. I became an instant photographer for her. Mom always wanted to have nice shots and selfies. I mean, I love taking pictures and I never take it seriously. But not with my mum, Hahaha! She would tease me if the picture doesn’t look good or if she doesn’t look pretty. And I just realized that the point is when you have a nicer shot. The picture will last longer and when the shot looks good. The story becomes beautiful, our brains save memories. And a photo saves memories too and when it’s carefully kept. It could last longer just like our brains do.
10. NEVER TIGHTEN YOUR POCKET FOR YOUR PARENT/S.
Although traveling can be done under budget I don’t think you should be done with your parent/s. Hello! It’s your parent/s, and not all can have the chance to travel with them. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. So, give them all nothing but the best treatment that they deserve. Make sure that their travel goal is granted. And this is why, if you plan to travel with your mum and dad. Well, save as much as you can and let them feel that Luxor for once in their lifetime. Never ever regret anything and don’t waste any single chance in making them happy. God will award you in heaven for being so good to your parent/s. KEEP THAT IN MIND!
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