If You Want Wisdom, Ditch College and Travel Instead

Outdoor students facing their fears and pushing their limits in the Himalayas.
Outdoor students facing their fears and pushing their limits in the Himalayas.

 

I maybe a hypocrite in saying what I’m about to say because I have four degrees under my belt and owe thousands of dollars in student loans. And maybe I’m just bitter as I write this because after over a decade of working at my decent paying career, I’m still significantly in debt. It almost feels as if the debt will erase me and not the other way around.

Going to college and more so obtaining your graduate degree are both appealing on paper. But, in reality, why is it that when you get into the career that you thought you chose, the longing for freedom suddenly taps you on the shoulder? With a heavy heart, you trudge on with your 9 to 5 job believing that by doing so, you will erase the feeling of being tricked to thinking you made the right decision.

In my case, despite the traditional stable career, I have managed to travel to far flung places and have at least over 50 passport stamps accumulated over the years. The travel experience only made me realize more and more that the source of meaning in life doesn’t depend on the status or money or power that we gain.

It’s the experience. The people. And the unique stories we end up telling as we sit in our favorite rocking chair during our golden years.

So, the conundrum goes like this:

A stable career gives you no time to pursue those endeavors that feed your soul. But traveling as a lifestyle would require money.

If I am able to choose as my younger self, I would have skipped college completely. I would have spent more time traveling in my younger years as a way to learn to thrive on my own. I would have read books of my own choosing and immersed myself in their content delightfully. I would have thoroughly taken advantage of the interactions with others as the platform for gathering data on life’s purpose. Any challenges along the way would have been the tests needed to evaluate my strengths and areas of improvement.

Being in college is a forced experience in many ways. The lack of freedom to think what we want and express how we think in our own unique ways cripples the process towards us being self-made individuals. The classes you take are taken because you need to in order to get that darn degree that society expects you to have so you can become this or that.

Being in college lacks freedom — the kind that you have when you travel as you learn. That, in and of itself, is reason to question society’s constant pressure for young people to attend such institution.

Think about it. How much freedom did you really have to think as an individual when you were in college? The experience is filled with social norms that every aspiring college graduate is certainly expected to follow. Not to mention you are constantly being observed, evaluated and graded. Where is the freedom in that which would allow you to think freely the way you choose? God forbid you sit in a chemistry or calculus class, your answers better be right. There’s no room for errors. If you don’t give the answers as noted on the professor’s answer key, then you fail. And then you have to repeat the class all over again while you see your colleagues advance to the next level. The whole experience just crushes your ego and leaves you constantly comparing yourself to others — a habit that you will carryover to your future career.

Meanwhile, in the world of traveling, there’s no such thing as failing. There’s only the different paths you can take. And, if ever you make a choice that happens to be in disagreement with your desires and goals, then the world allows you to backtrack and redo things but without being graded or chastised by the outside world.

You become your own teacher, mentor and coach all at the same time.

Definitely, there’s freedom in that process. In it lies the beauty of making mistakes and yet learning from them without the self-imposed feelings of shame, embarrassment, insecurity or guilt. There are no fellow students to compare yourself with. No one is judging you, but yourself.

Lessons on the road teach you to be your own critic which lends itself to the lesson of your daily life or YOUR ENTIRE LIFE for that matter: i.e., SELF-LOVE.

Being a student on the road quickly teaches us to be more in tune with ourselves and build a healthy sense of competition with ourselves, and not others.

In contrast, classrooms render us to focus more on the external comparisons- our fellow students, that A+ student next to us or that athlete who seems to be guaranteed a college degree because of his star status. Not to mention your parents who check up on you every now and then. If they’re paying for your tuition, then that’s added guilt on your part. And what about the elephant in the room which you’ll carry with you for decades? Student loans.

Before you can even secure your very first job as a doctor or a lawyer, you have already reached a six-figure debt, not salary. Can you honestly think of a worse way of starting your career fresh from graduating? I can’t. Even now, I’m still in debt because I happen to have chosen to become a lawyer. Go figure!

Yeah, I know. I shouldn’t complain. I have the status. I have the six digit figure of a salary. But then if I deduct the student loan debt and the daily expenses, something tells me a world nomad who’s been on the road all this time maybe financially wealthier than me, in addition to being abundantly filled with life experiences.

That thought alone makes me insanely jealous. Maybe I’m just realizing I was meant to be a traveler. Yet, majority of the time, I’m now only a dreamer behind my desk.

The fact in my case is I missed out on being a student on the road and the freedom of learning that comes with it. I’m smart alright. And I earned my degrees, no doubt. But I could be wiser and wealthier in many ways by now, if only I chose to hit the road then. Now, as a typical 9 to 5-er, I struggle to fit in traveling in my schedule knowing the lessons are not the same had I hit the road in my younger years.

So, learn from my biggest lesson:

Don’t hesitate to travel for a while and enjoy the unique teachings of the world. Gain wisdom now, and you’ll then realize the degree can wait if you desire to pursue it later on. Don’t worry. You’ll be wise enough then to know it’s never too late to start over.

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Who is Brown Gal Trekker and Why the Mountains?

me-profiel-6

I wasn’t born to become a hiker.

At least, that’s what I thought then.  In fact, I’m a first generation Filipina who grew up in Manila.  At the age of 13, I moved to Seattle, Washington with my family.  I spent my college and law school years in the same state but despite the abundance of hiking trails in the area, I didn’t bother to hit the mountain trails until 2003 when I spent a couple of months in Guatemala while in-between jobs.  At that time, I completed my judicial clerkship in Washington, D.C.  While waiting to hear from prospective employers, I decided to fly to Guatemala on a solo trip where I enrolled in a Spanish immersion course in Antigua.

That was my first time traveling alone.  But also, it was when I first discovered hiking.  The first time was unexpected. It was a hike up an active volcano,Volcan Pacaya. 

With sneakers and overalls, I was hardly prepared to hike up the summit of an active volcano with my fellow students from the Spanish school.  It was the most difficult experience I ever had then. I recall how I felt upset at myself for allowing my fellow students to convince me to go on this hike given that the peak was at an altitude of 8,373 feet.  The trail itself was well trodden only in the beginning which turned rather horrendously erratic as we were left to trudge up an unofficial path to the summit.  This meant hiking through mid-thigh high ashy conditions and the unrelenting smell of sulfur gas.  Looking back, I’m of course grateful as that opened the door for me to discover the beauty of hiking.

Meanwhile, not a lot of people know this, but I have struggled with weight all throughout my life.  In my childhood years back in Manila, I earned several nicknames. 

I never looked at it as a barrier, however. I always felt as if people tease you only because they like you.  At least, that’s the way it is in the Filipino culture.  When I arrived in the U.S, I quickly realized that name calling can be malicious and has the propensity to hurt others.  In some ways, I’m grateful that I didn’t encounter this kind of bullying in the U.S.; nonetheless, like most women, I had to live through the societal pressures to be thin and remain thin as a way to define the word “beautiful.”

In my adult years, I continued to struggle with the weight, especially in my late 20s up until my early 30s.  Due to difficult relationships that rendered me to become out of touch with the essence of “self-care” and “self-love,” I struggled with maintaining a healthy weight.

It didn’t feel good.  Health-wise, I suffered from back pain as a result of the weight gain and living an inactive lifestyle.  Despite discovering hiking in 2004, it wasn’t until a year later that I became seriously interested in spending more time in the outdoors.  Part of the motivation came from trying to improve my health, both physically and mentally, after enduring a difficult relationship.

So, I spent most of my weekends in the nearby parks outside of Washington, D.C. and went on day hikes, which soon transformed into overnight wilderness backpacking trips.  Ultimately, I started organizing trips through the platform, Meetup.com.  

Through Meetup, I was able to share my passion for the outdoors by organizing local day hikes, overnight backpacking trips and eventually overseas treks to Peru, Nepal, Tanzania, Chile, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, South Africa, among a few others.  As an organizer, I witnessed first-hand how hiking can impact people in such a positive light.  I met people who were trying it for the first time, and those who have been at it for decades with no sense of stopping.  I rediscovered the benefits of hiking through the people I met along the way on the trails from losing weight to finding a sense of peace and stillness in their lives; while some overcame their fears, especially when trekking overseas, and others challenged their limits physically and mentally as their means to achieving self-growth.  I was inspired by all of them, regardless of where they were in their so-called hiking life. It was such a fulfilling experience to play the unique role of a hiker and the hike organizer, all at the same time.

Since then, hiking has gone far beyond just maintaining my health at an optimum level.  It has enriched my life with stories from various corners of the world while teaching me the value of accepting my self for all that I am, and not.

In essence, it reconnected me back to my life in the Philippines as every country I visited with the group of people I organized via Meetup proves to share the same hospitality that I constantly long for in my home of origin.  I learned to appreciate the diverse group of people I met all over the world and the countless fearless women who hike solo or with others from various ethnic backgrounds and culture.  Moreover, my trekking companions became some of my trusted friends with whom I share a unique bond that developed from the numerous trekking adventures we’ve had locally and abroad.

Over a decade later, I’m still at it.  Hiking on weekends, organizing trips locally and overseas, while still working as an attorney at my day job. However, one thing has changed.  This time, I married the mountains. 

I obtained a business license to start my social enterprise, Peak Explorations, which will continue my efforts to inspire people to trek globally with a focus on solo travelers and women.  I also co-founded a non-profit organization, Trails Without Borders, to support social projects and trail building in remote mountain regions worldwide.  Both organizations aim to promote local tourism while connecting trekkers with nature.

A year ago, I returned from a one year sabbatical from my legal career which allowed me to trek some of the most remote trails in the world.  Towards the end of that journey,  I vividly recall a gentleman I crossed paths with who candidly said, “You’ll know how to define your own freedom,”  as a response to my concern about returning to the mundane rituals of my 9 to 5 job.

He was right.  In my world now, the ultimate goal is freedom to roam the mountain trails as my alter ego, Brown Gal Trekker, and completely retire from my legal practice to spend the rest of my lifetime trekking in the mountains and promoting my two enterprises.  Traveling and mountain trekking have added immense joy in my life, so much so, that I am dedicating my life to pursuing both endeavors on a full-time basis while inspiring others to discover their own definition of freedom.

Some of us may not have been born to be a hiker, and that’s okay.  But sooner or later, your heart will remind you if you truly are one.  Only then, you will realize you have no choice but to listen to it, and perhaps, even marry the mountains, like I did.  Either way, spending time with nature leaves you yearning for freedom, whichever way you wish to define it.

Yading china

IN THE MOUNTAINS, I’M FREE.

-Brown Gal Trekker

NEXT READ: BGT’s Mission and Projects.

She Becomes a Judge and I Become a Mountain Nomad

As usual, I was in my office sipping my cup of soy latte when I heard screaming from a group of female colleagues down the hallway. Having been here at this office for 13 years, my first thought was, “Oh, someone just announced she’s engaged or having a baby.”  My legal office is full of female attorneys. Actually, a majority of them are females. I hit 40 this year. So, as you can see, I spent majority of my fertile years as a female in this work space. But I don’t have kids. Not even a husband. And I have never been married.

Over the span of 13 years at my job, I have grown accustomed to hearing about my female colleagues’ dreams of marriage and having children. You can say I grew up in my office the same way you grow up with your immediate family — everyone is discreetly critical of everyone’s career advancement and judgmental of your dreams and the direction you take in life. I know that sounds harsh but that’s simply the nature of the work atmosphere in an office full of lawyers who are trained to exercise judgment on a daily basis. Fortunately, it was easy for me to adjust from the beginning as law school typically affords you the training on the norms of the lawyer world.

Moments later, in passing, a co-worker blurted out, “Oh, did you know, so and so got nominated to become a judge.” “Wow, that’s amazing,” I replied. In the entire 13 years of practicing, having someone nominated to become a judge from our office was unheard of, so much so, that most of us stopped bothering to pursue that dream. Hearing this great achievement by my fellow colleague caused me to feel a surge of complex emotions and thoughts like, “Am I jealous or not? Should I be? How did this happen? Her, really? That could have been me. But why didn’t I apply for it? Do I really care? It’s just judgeship. But that’s the natural career path for you. You ought to be a judge by now. And remember marriage? Husband? And the kids? Those are your dreams, right?”

Wrong.

They WERE my dreams but not anymore. And the person who needs to feel comfortable the most about that is ME. As doubts crept in to compel me to question the turns I took in my life, I had to recover rather quickly from the potential of my questioning any previous decisions I made about my life. The one hard truth about this is the older you are, the more challenging it is to overcome the doubts that periodically seep through your mind. The clock was ticking. Now, it stopped ticking because time has given up on nagging you to do the things that you were supposed to have done years ago. You then wonder if the clock stopped only because the time is up.

But let me tell you what my dreams are:  I want to trek up mountains and live near one. I wish to dedicate time to focus on my social enterprise and non-profit organization that market adventure travel and treks as a way to help locals in mountain regions to earn an income. This means leaving my legal career in the next couple of years and moving to a suitable location overseas that will allow me to expand my trekking/adventure travel enterprise. I don’t plan on getting married but I intend to share my life experiences with a partner that complements my goals in a committed relationship. But if there’s no partner, then I’m fine with that too. I intend to maintain my child-free status because I am choosing a life that is filled with more freedom than normal, which entails extensive traveling and trekking in remote mountain regions globally to promote lesser known trails.

nica-2
Next to a volcano in Nicaragua during my early years of organizing treks with the DC area outdoor groups. Recently, I self-promoted myself as a CEO.
To have dreams is easy but to make sure you stay on the path that will take you there can be difficult, even more so when your dreams are more “off the beaten path.” Hearing the news about my colleague and her promotion as a judge brought to the forefront of my mind a vision of the existing contrast in our lives. Add to that the fact that everyone else but me in the office yearns to become a judge, the entire experience created a division between their dreams and mine. But this also made me revisit the question of why I didn’t choose the path that my colleague has chosen while reaffirming to myself the reasons why I am choosing the path that is now before me. I don’t dare tell them one bit of what I see in my future because I learned early in my legal career to be mindful of sharing my dreams and the risk of people commenting negatively about them. When your dreams are unconventional compared to others, it’s rather important to have the ability to focus on your own unique path and be prepared when society subjects you to its tendency to criticize or question your passion.

Here are 7 ways to help you continue on with achieving your dreams, and not those of others:

1. Write down your goals.

Don’t allow yourself to have your dreams float in your mind indefinitely. Make them more concrete in your life. Writing them is a way to solidify your dreams and gives you a sense that they are now official. It’s a contract you create between your present and future self. Written contracts like this are helpful as a means to remind you of your true desires. The contract serves as your compass to direct you where you wish to be. This is especially important in situations where the meaning or value of your dreams is questioned by others, and yourself. Make sure to keep this contract accessible so you can easily get to it when needed. When I first started out, I confess I was lazy about writing my goals down. But as time passed and the more my desires became overwhelming, I couldn’t help but write them down. The process naturally led me to visualize my goals as if they were already happening. Doing so afforded me more clarity on my goals and how best to achieve them.

2. Take steps towards your dreams, even little ones.

Thoughts require action for them to occur before you so take steps towards them. It doesn’t matter if they’re small or large. Eventually, small steps add up so you don’t always need to act on your dreams in an extravagant fashion. In my case, my steps started out small in the way of spending more time in the mountains hiking or backpacking. Soon after, I started organizing hikes and backpacking trips locally which led to my organizing major treks overseas. These steps have now culminated in launching a non-profit and a social enterprise which formalize my passion by making that shift from a mere hobby to a lifetime goal. As an added bonus, the more steps you take towards your dreams, the easier it is to dismiss the idea of comparing your dreams with others. When I found out my colleague got promoted, my sentiment was as follows: “She is going to be a judge? I’m happy for her. I’m on my way towards my dreams too so I’m happy for both of us.”

img_4422203124999
Appreciate your effort and enjoy the process, all in one, while on top of a desert in Gobi, Mongolia.
3. Appreciate your efforts frequently.

It requires focus, time and effort to achieve any kind of goal in life, even more so when it requires a major shift in life. Early on, it is crucial that you learn to be your own cheerleader. Give yourself the praise you deserve along the way and practice positive thinking on days when you come across dead ends. I know that quitting my legal practice is not an easy decision to make but when my passion for mountain trekking became more apparent overtime and the more I invested in it, the notion of leaving the practice started to feel natural. Appreciating the work you’re putting into your dreams creates ownership of your own goals and thus enhances the value that your goals hold in your life, so much so, that even when the major shift happens, you’ll be more ready than you initially anticipated because your mind and spirit are already invested in the fulfillment of your dreams.

4. Enjoy the process.

Dreams are made through the process of creating. The process of getting to your truest desire shouldn’t feel like work. It should feel like a burning passion. Love. Not obligation. Joy rather than stress. If, for some reason, it is becoming more of a burden to work towards your goals, then don’t be afraid to re-assess to see if your dreams still serve your best interests or whether a new path should be taken. Be authentic with your dreams. Otherwise, you will be fooling nobody, but yourself.

5. Surround yourself with inspiration and positive energy.

Read inspirational books, journals, articles, quotes or whatever else that will add some positive energy to your day. Meet others who enjoy creating and making their goals come to life. At the same time, it makes sense to keep distance from those who don’t appreciate your dreams or are critical of them. It’s perfectly fine to cut the ties with those who constantly degrade your goals and discourage you. Negativity is the quickest way to kill your dreams so do not compromise what you desire the most in order to maintain certain relationships that no longer serve you in a positive way. I obviously don’t spend much time with lawyers in my profession outside of work because their dreams are completely different from mine. My circle of friends includes mostly those from the travel and hiking worlds who constantly provide me with inspiration and drive. They are perfect in terms of company as oftentimes our views about life are in alignment. Acceptance of each other’s quirks is the norm, not the exception. Without them, my path would be a much harder trail to walk on.

13248827_1748474388770074_1744057471_n
In good company- my trekker friends blazing the more remote trails of Drakensberg in South Africa. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people leads you closer to your off the beaten path dreams.
6. Trust the process.

Life will give you what you desire. Believing is the first step. My two enterprises will only thrive if I believe in my product and the value that it gives to others. I also believe that my enterprises will pave the way for me to achieve more freedom that I hardly have as a practicing attorney. I further believe that this freedom is the key to sustaining my chosen level of happiness in my life. Before you dive into turning your dreams into reality, you must first be invested in them fully. Have a belief system that will hold your goals solidly in place when moments of doubts arise.

7. Embrace your weirdness.

I won’t lie and tell you that I didn’t feel like a weirdo when I received the good news about my co-worker. Doubting one’s dreams can easily lead to self-judgment. Hence, this is why it’s important to embrace your weirdness. Love the fact that you have an unconventional set of dreams. While society tells you to BE THIS, you do THAT. And that’s perfectly fine because that’s who you are. The more you practice appreciating and loving your weird self, the less people’s comparisons matter. In fact, you’ll soon realize you’re too busy loving yourself, your dreams, and others who love you to even bother with the haters and critics. Luckily, in the world of mountain trekking, there is a higher level of open-mindedness in which I can flourish as my true self who aspire to live a nomadic mountain life. Having such a support system is highly significant as they not only provide you with the inspiration you need, but also serves as a major source for networking when it comes to mountain trekking.

There you have it. For better or worse, stay committed to your dreams that society normally views as odd, unusual, out of the norm or unconventional. It’s tough at times, I know. But that’s exactly why unconventional dreams are more special. Next time you don’t go for that career advancement that everyone in the office wants, just smile and say, “It’s not for me” and be the first person to believe it. Then, back in your office, you can tell yourself quietly, “Sure, she can be the judge, and I can be the mountain nomad.”

me-profile-4
One of my future offices where I can do real work.

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Trekking in Zhangjiajie of China (AVATAR MOUNTAINS)

IMG_20160516_213813
Catching the sunset at landing in China.


My first Entry to China: I have been warned. Kinda.

After Mongolia, the next leg was a solo trip to China.  My very first entry to China was through the Hunan Province.  As it turns out it, if you’re new to China, Hunan will shock you because it is far from the notion of a foreigner mecca in terms of tourism.  In fact, the entire time I was in this part of China, I only saw one Western foreigner – a European who was studying the language and therefore able to move around the country with ease.  He told me he was on a short break and his parents were in town so he was acting as their guide in this part of China.  He also happened to be staying at my hostel. Continue reading Trekking in Zhangjiajie of China (AVATAR MOUNTAINS)

Why I’m Not That Superficially Hot Gal on the Trail

As I entered the Longji Rice Terraces in the Yunnan Province of China for some spectacular hiking experience, I thought, “It’s irrelevant,” referring to the notion of bringing make up and fixing my hair up, the way I normally did back in Washington, DC to dance the night away. Trekking, after all, is a MESSY business. Put on make up, and you know it will only last on your face until you reach that first uphill that you would have to climb. Soon enough, you’re drenched in sweat. Once done with the struggle, you then will have to deal with retouching a face that’s been caught in the chaos of the very make up that you thought will turn you into a model from a front cover of a fashion magazine.

That’s very much why in a nutshell.  However, let me tell you a few other things from an honest standpoint.

1. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because the best parts of the hike are the ones up on the summit. And when I say summit, that means the higher the better! Again, that entails climbing uphill for hours which will render your attempts to beautify yourself futile. See my note above as to what happens with uphill hiking. You get it now, I hope? But here’s the thing: WOULD YOU REALLY COMPROMISE A SPECTACULAR VIEW FOR HAVING A PRETTY FACE?

13395051_622271181273041_180146508_n
The mighty mountains along the Tiger Leaping Gorge trail in China. Worth the sacrifice for a surreal view!

Say no…please. But, if yes, then read on.

2. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because hiking has risks. STAYING ALIVE is the goal besides enjoying the views. That means be prepared to wear proper hiking clothes. No revealing tank tops when hiking in near freezing temperatures. Please no “short” shorts either while you pretend to be cute in your freezing ass. Nothing is cute about that especially when you inconvenience others in a group who have to care for you in the event of you falling ill. I suppose you brought your boots, not the red fashionable sneakers that you adore because a broken ankle is no fun. There’s a peak to conquer and a personal achievement to attain. Stay focus on the goal. Not the guys.  Soon enough, the guys who are meant to see beyond your superficial hotness will notice you for the real you.

No, try again.
boots
That’s the one. Better.

 

 

 

 

men-2
See, hot or not, you get them all.

3. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because being dirty is liberating. It’s FREEEEDOOOOMMM! Forget showers when you trek.  Are you kidding me? The more you desire to see amazing-out- of- this- world landscapes, the more you have to embrace your own dirt and smell.   Be one with the two.  Sorry, I know this stinks, but hey, it’s a sacrifice worth having once you see those once in a lifetime photos. The good news is photos are odor-free so regardless of whether you decide to have yourself in these photos or not, you’re safe! No one will ever criticize your hygiene.

13413441_146303449111424_2124606813_n
A few days without showers in the cold wilderness of Nepal’s Himalayas along the Gokyo to Everest Base Camp trail. By that point, you would rather not have close up shots. The further you are, the better. No smell like I told you…at least not on the photos.

4. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because you know what? IT’S TOO MUCH WORK. That fact applies universally to all scenarios, not just life in the mountains. Why would a girl leave the pressures of being a city girl just to go to a mountain and still subject herself to the same torment? No, no, no. I don’t think so. “No mirror” on a trekking trip is always a good advise especially when you’re struggling NOT to be that hot gal on the trail (but keep it as part of your first aid kit while promising yourself to resist the allure of vanity).  After all, summit days start early and you’ll hardly have the time to put on that make up.  If at all, you ought to use that time to double check your water bladder and head lamp.

Trekking turns you into a sleeping beauty. It’s work.

5. I’m NOT that superficially hot gal on the trail because, well, you ought to know YOU ALREADY ARE. Be like nature. Authentic. Your real beauty lies in your ability to fully accept that you are beautiful, inside and out. So, drop the stiletto style walking, and strut those high cut hiking boots like you’re completely blister-free.  Take a deep breathe and read the following with me:  I’m more than just that hot gal on the trail.  I’m the fearless trekker that the hot gals on the trail secretly admire and look up to.  I’m beautiful as my natural self.

Going natural on a trek in Iceland. Double dose of beauty.

There you go.  You did it.  Congrats!!! You’re no longer that hot gal on the trail.  But, phew!  Now, hit the shower!

***This post is inspired by Brown Gal Trekker’s semi-awakening of an experience while trekking solo in China where national parks are full of hot girls with make-up who wore party dresses and heels. Culture in this part of the world dictates that a woman must preserve that level of femininity even on the hiking trails. It is so ingrained in the Chinese females’ psyche to appear feminine that the women themselves perpetuate this social expectation. Without judging, as we all have differences on this subject, the experience left BGT a feeling of increased appreciation for her ability to be authentic, raw, carefree and essentially unmoved by the pressures of society. Regardless, any woman who hikes a mountain trail is beautiful in her own unique way. So,  really, BGT writes this post to celebrate this universal truth with all the “hot gals” worldwide.  Keep on trekking, be it on heels, or boots, or otherwise.***

hot-girls-2
The hot girls on the trail of Longji Rice terraces. Although Brown Gal didn’t quite fit in by looks, her hiking skills fit quite well.
hot-girl-2
BGT became friends with a hot girl who gave BGT a pink scarf as a gift to make her feel more “feminine” on the trail. It turns out “hotness” was an easy thing to overlook when it comes to friendship. Hot or not, we felt beautiful.

 

AND FOR DOING SO WELL WITH BEING NOT A SUPERFICIALLY HOT GAL, HERE’S A GLIMPSE AT LONGJI

I leave you with a video of Longji Rice Terraces in the Yunnan Province of China.  It’s easily accessible by bus from the city of Guilin.  Overnight stays can be had in any of the guesthouses in the villages at cheap hostel rates.   At Longji, you can hike from one village to the next to enjoy the landscapes.  However, be warned that there’s frequent occurrence of fog, which was the case when I visited; hence, I saw a limited glimpse of the rice terraces.  Relaxing, rejuvenating, and still off the beaten path (many folks stay back in Guilin) – Longji is a true oasis for those seeking solace.  Go.

Follow Brown Gal Trekker via:

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest