I met Ephraim Arriesgado during the One Year in Mission – SSD training in Manila two years ago. Even though I’ve joined their compassion campaigns, I didn’t know him much. This interview was planned long ago, but both of us got too busy. I’m grateful for the time given for this because I want the readers to be inspired and be able to experience how to travel selflessly and efficiently.
The most significant selfless travel I had with this mission-oriented travel blogger is when I went with his team of more a dozen of multicultural missionaries from Souther Asia-Pacific Region (10 countries) to Indonesia. I’d been part of the staff (Registration Committee) of the SSD-wide event dubbed as “Make Your Mark”, Youth Connects Indonesia. It’s the One Year in Mission’s (OYiM) culminating activity held in Jakarta and Bandung on the last week of June until the first week of July 2014.
How did you come up with your blog’s name and what is its niche?
I came up with my blog’s name, Selfless Travels, after a lot of brainstorming, reflection, and prayer. Actually, I had a different blog name at first. But after some time, I decided to change it for brevity and beauty. I really wanted to have a blog name that has an impact, that’s easy to remember, and that which honestly reflects myself—my desire to travel and my passion for mission. Selfless Travels is a travel blog and it is part of the community of Filipino travel blogs. It’s the site where I write my travel stories, travel guides, and mission trips. In it are my travel photos and videos as well.
When did you start blogging and what motivated you the most to travel?
I started blogging in December 2011. It was through the persuasion and encouragement of my college friend that I started to write and publish blog posts. Traveling is a part of my life. I’ve been traveling to places since I was a child. When I was in high school and college, I had to study away from home and it opened my mind to the beauty of travel. I travel because I wanted the experience of travel—meeting new people, seeing new places, doing adventures, learning a new language, trying local dishes, and making an impact to the people in my destinations.
Can you enumerate some significant trips which are selfless travels?
My travels now are mostly travels with a mission. And the mission trips that stand out are my trip to Malitbog, Southern Leyte where I helped in the Coral Reef Restoration Project; our backpacking and ministry trip in Thailand and Cambodia with my college batchmates where we ministered to the spiritual needs of some people in Bangkok and some orphans in an orphanage in Siem Reap; and lastly our Project BookSail trip to an island in Southern Leyte where we gave out books and school supplies to the pupils in two elementary schools.
You were featured on the leading TV network as a travel blogger, could you please tell us about it?
It was really an unexpected experience. I was in Manila that time as part of the One Year in Mission training. Someone from the TV network emailed me that they would like to feature Selfless Travels and they would like to know more about traveling with a mission. I never hesitated and I said yes to the interview which was held at Rizal Park. I had a great time during the interview. After a few months, the news feature was broadcasted and after the segment, many people messaged me and emailed me and said that they wanted to support and join my mission trips. It was really very memorable. Our Project BookSail trip in Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte was also featured on the same TV network.
For details read this post: GMA News 24 Oras Features Selfless Travels
Aside from being a travel blogger, you’re also a missionary within the Southeast Asia Region. How did you come up with it?
Yes, that’s right. I’m a missionary which leads the work of the One Year in Mission team in Central Philippines. God called me to be a part of this ministry after the super typhoon Yolanda struck our place in Ormoc City, Leyte in 2013. I had to leave my family and go to Manila for the training. But being a missionary is a blessing to me. It gave me a lot of mission stories and it brought me to places I have never been to before.
What are the major challenges of having multicultural mission field?
I think there are two major challenges to cross-cultural ministry. First is language and second, culture. I have experienced those challenges in my time with One Year in Mission. But one good thing about it is that out of those challenges are opportunities for service and ministry. Learning the language, engaging the culture, immersion in the community, and contextualizing the ministry approach will surely help missionaries.
Aside from blogging, what are the other hobbies you have? How do you share the passion to other young people?
Aside from traveling and blogging, I usually do photography most of the time. I also love mountaineering, running, and music. I usually attend youth camps and events where I get to inspire the youth to offer to God their talents through humble service in His work.
How would you encourage others to have selfless travels?
In traveling with a mission, you get to experience more. It makes your travel worthwhile, it creates lasting memories, and it gives fulfillment in your life—all these will surely warm your hearts. We travel not just to see the place but to serve the people in that place. We travel because we want to make a difference in the lives of the people even in small and simple ways. I’d like to quote the words of William Wordsworth, “The best portion of a good man’s life— his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.”
Note: Photos credit to Ephraim Arriesgado. Video credit: GMA News
© 2016 LAF