In Los Angeles, I crashed in a stranger’s house.

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Not the actual house. Just one of the neighbors. Thought is was Hobbitland-ish or Tuscany

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It was a pretty neighborhood. Really Instagram-worthy.

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With some of the most adorable pets I’ve seen, as well!

What do you do when you have a limited travel fund (in a country where your currency is weak) and the thought of spending it in a hotel hurts?

You get resourceful and creative.

You go out of your comfort zone.

I stayed in a friend’s friend who I haven’t met. What was I thinking? (Making the most out of my dollars, that was!)

Good thing I didn’t think too much about it! The world opened up and I met one of the most amazing persons I had the chance to know!

In the same spirit of thrill,  I unknowingly  stayed in a hotel where somebody was killed and dumped in the water tank (said the internet). What you don’t know really doesn’t hurt bother you.

I was finally able to live my frequent parting words to friends– see you somewhere in the world.

I met two dear college friends who flew in from Ontario and New Jersey, one after the other because awesome friends are awesome like that!

I roamed around alone for half a month.

I took the trains and local buses, manoeuvring my way with only just a saved pdf map on my iPhone.

Into the Los Angeles Subway

Into the Los Angeles Subway

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LA Subway

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Figured out my way through LA bus system

I walked along artsy alleys and tried cheap fast food.

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Los Angeles streets

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So when in LA, in the land of Hollywood, what do you do?

Hollywood's Walk of Fame

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

You take the TMZ tour bus  to experience the whole LA gossiping craze in the hopes of a lucky celebrity sighting. Exactly what Meg (college friend from Ontario) and I did. The Buzz levels in steroids! Our friendship built over celebrity chismis couldn’t be happier!

And then when you get lucky, you randomly meet eyes with an old college friend in Little Tokyo. We found ourselves an instant tour guide/driver! She satisfied our In ‘n Out curiosity and indulged us with the famous American food truck.

The thrill didn’t stop at the crime scene of a hotel room I stayed in.

I got to drive a rented car  from Las Vegas to Malibu with nothing but my Philippine license. Who knew that was legal, at least for a month!

Travel teaches you practical things like this.

Despite all these wonderful, character-testing experiences, there’s only one reason why Los Angeles will forever be a special place.

I met a kindred soul.

I knew a kind-hearted, selfless, hard-working woman.

I was touched by  a special story of an angel.

I saw how one person can do so much with just a limited number of 24 hours.

I was able to witness a life of love in a home of a person I only met in LA, and I stayed at their mansion.

I never knew I can have the courage to randomly crash a stranger’s home. #introvertproblems

You’ll never really know what you’re capable of until you travel; until you subject yourself to unfamiliar territory, to an uncomfortable state.

All your seemingly non-negotiables get strapped of the superficials. You are only left with your authentic self.

I didn’t come to the US with a surplus of travel fund. If not for the travel expo, I wouldn’t have been able to go.

But I left with a surplus of life takeaways and photographs.

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Breakdancing action at Venice beach

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Getty Museum

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Santa Monica beach

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Los Angeles Public Library

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Museum of Contemporary Arts

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One of the most beautifully and tastefully interior-designed churches I’ve seen!

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The famous lamp installation at LACMA

I left, having now seen both sides of the world, with a better perspective of life.

I came home changed.