“Luxury is having loved ones by your side, having a good work environment that makes you feel valued and supported, and of course, being able to make a positive difference,” says travel expert Joanna Lim, Founder of Bag Your Brand, a company that creates customised travel gear for people with active lifestyles. After graduating from the University of the Philippines, Lim moved to Vancouver, where she learned how to be independent and tenacious in a new environment. This experience helped to fuel the drive within her to challenge her current situation and try something new.
“I was travelling in Nepal for a month and realised I didn’t have enough money to enjoy my stay,” she shares. An avid martial artist, Lim recalled how every time she’d practice jiu-jitsu, she could never find the perfect bag to keep all of her gear that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing. “Our bags are made with military-tested materials, high-density weaving, and are fully customisable—from the colours to the silkscreen printing and the embroidery.” The Sybarite sits with Lim to hear her sustainable travel tips and find out which challenges she faced when starting her business.
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching your business?
Juggling BYB with a full-time job whilst trying to maintain my active lifestyle, has been quite difficult. Not to mention making time for family and friends! We also spent a lot of money on the prototypes and making sure the bags would last at the beach, in the gym, in the mountains, and any type of weather. But it was all made bearable by the good company I was in and the friends wanting to help out in so many ways. I have been absolutely blessed with love and support from all over. Now, people want to invest in the business as well!
What do you think are the most significant differences in travel trends from now compared to five years ago?
Everything is so much easier now; you can get information about a place or read accurate reviews just about anywhere. The power of the internet has made the world smaller, and it’s really simple to find what you need because of technology.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
Sustainability, to me, is important because it’s about preserving what was passed down to us; it’s about respect. It’s also about interacting authentically with both the world around us and the people who tend to the land and sea.
What are your top 3 tips for people who want to be more sustainable when travelling?
1. Buy local. Local goods also make perfect souvenirs! 2. Take the bus if you can. Night buses help you save time as well 3. Ask permission! Whether it’s taking a photo of a child, cuddling up to someone’s pet, or walking onto someone’s property, make sure you show respect and ask first. And if you have time, volunteer!
In your opinion, what are the key ingredients to a great trip?
Living with the locals. Or bring a tent! Those have always been my best experiences.
The Philippines has started to become quite a destination for tourists. What are some of your favourite places to go in the country?
As a mountaineer and a rock climber, I love Cantabaco, Cebu. You can hit up the many beautiful beaches whilst being close to the city. You can also have the best lechon (roast pig) and still be close to the mountains. Davao is another great place. It has mountains, beaches, and you’re just four hours away from Bukidnon, which has awesome rock climbing. For the mountaineering side of me, the Benguet area is beautiful. I love Sagada and the Mountain Province, which has cool weather, a relaxed environment, and of course, the numerous mountains you can traverse and hike for days on end. I also enjoy Bicol for surfing and wakeboarding and just experiencing the simple provincial life.
Bag Your Brand
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