Whether you’re a frequent traveller or someone who just has a bad case of wanderlust, it’s always nice to hear tales of travel from expert travelers. Marc Soong, Autostrada Motore Inc.’s executive director and a seasoned traveler, has been going away on trips ever since he was a little kid.
A kind-faced man emerged from the maze of luxury cars in the Autostrada showroom, his casual clothes and jolly demeanor a refreshing contrast from the slightly intimidating prestige that the Jaguars and the Ferraris around us exude. This is Marc Soong, one of the men who brings luxury vehicles to the country and he’s asking us if we would like coffee (“I recommend the cappuccino! It’s really good!” he proudly exclaimed).
Once we were all settled with our respective cups, he began to regale us with stories about getting amoebiasis in Germany, eating scorpions, and driving a Ferrari to the beach. He said, “I’ve experienced almost everything! Traveling is always a unique experience and whatever happens makes you a smarter traveler.”
Throughout the interview, we also picked up 6 travel tips from this seasoned business and leisure traveler that we think everyone can learn from.
- Go beyond your itinerary! The car magnate admits to not researching about a place before going there. “When I go to a place, my wife normally does the planning; I go in blindly and I get surprised na lang. I like a slightly adventurous travel. Recently, we went to India. We did walking tours of the slum areas. We were eating on the street. I like challenging myself and going to new places where people normally don’t go. I like that. I don’t like the normal places. There are also so many strange things we’ve done, but we’re looking for the next adventure like that. ” he said with a chuckle.One of Marc’s philosophy is “If you’re going to do something, do it differently”. In line with this, he regaled us with the story of how he had successfully driven a Ferrari FF from Manila to the beaches of Baler, proving to us that even land travel can be extraordinary.
- Experience everything local. “[For destinations, I always look at] the sights, the culture, the food, and the uniqueness of the location,” he revealed. That being said, Marc has probably tried all the “weirdest” food each country he visited has to offer: from scorpions to moving squid to live worms. But the scariest food, he recalled, would probably be the Indian street food, “Everyone scares you that, in India, you’re gonna get sick. We ate at the streets and we didn’t get sick naman. When I go to a place, I’d be like, “What’s the weirdest thing you have?” and then I’m gonna order it. You just have to have a good guide. It’s being daring but not stupid.”
Food is not the only local thing you should experience, however. See more of the place you’re in through the eyes of the local people. Marc revealed gaining friends from all over the world through chatting with local people (and sometimes asking for help when he gets lost) and keeping in touch even after they’ve parted ways.
- Allow enough time for leisure. While Marc mainly travels for work, he likes to sneak in some leisure time during work trips. “The travel got a lot more frequent because of work, really. What I’ve tried recently to do is take it a little easier so I stopped the really, really short [work] trips. So now I try to mix some pleasure with business. I often visit friends in Europe. Last year, I went to Africa for pleasure,” he told us.
- Bring along the right people. Brought along on work trips when he was a child, Marc started traveling at a young age together his parents and siblings and now, ever the family man, he likes to travel with his wife and twin daughters. He also proudly revealed having recently brought them to the top of Mt. Pulag, Luzon’s highest peak for the second time.
- Know your destination beforehand and pack accordingly. Marc revealed to searching the climate of wherever it is that he’s going. “[I just pack] the right clothes for the right place. I’m easy; I can survive with little stuff and then just buy stuff along the way. Also, ever since I was young, we have supplements when we travel. Growing up, we’ve always had our boosters. I think it’s important. Just the right diet, proper rest, and the right supplements will do the job. Lastly, medicine, of course. [You should] have a travel kit with medicine for if you get sick because it’s really a lifesaver.” He later revealed bringing along with him his Conzace travel health kit, which contains useful travel items such as Conzace multivitamins, travel socks, and an eye mask to mention a few.
- Always take care of your health. Aside from lost luggage (“That sucked! It was the peak of summer and we didn’t have clothes!”) and his plane seatmate dying next to him, Marc admits that the worst thing that has happened to him while travelling was getting sick: “I got amoebiasis while traveling Europe and I still finished my trip. I thought I was gonna die! I just got really sick. I was travelling for two weeks and I have amoebiasis and I didn’t know. I almost went home but then they prescribed me antibiotics and then I finished my trip alright. I was much younger so I was much more uneducated. I tried to walk it off but…yeah. It was miserable!”
Apart from taking care of himself, he also takes care of the others around him. He told us, “One time, my sister got sick while we were traveling so I gave her my Conzace and she double down-ed it, and in the morning, she felt better naman!”
Learning from past experience, he now stresses the importance of keeping your body healthy before and during trips. “If I know it’s going to be an outdoor trip, I exercise beforehand so that the body’s ready. I have my vitamins and supplements to take on the trip because you never know. When you travel, you have to not get sick so you could appreciate the trip. You have to be careful. Yeah, basically, it’s just security and health. That’s my two priorities. Other than that, everything else is easy, but if something happens and you’re sick, it ruins your whole trip,” Marc told us.
Aside from the food and culture, there are also threats out there in the world and your regular vitamin C isn’t going to cut it anymore. Take a leaf out of Marc Soong’s book and bring Conzace with you in your travels. Conzace is a multivitamin proven to activate more immunity cells, helping fight illnesses better than plain vitamin C.