How traveling strengthens the bond of millennial couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez
ver the past decade or so, traveling has become more and more a part of the Filipino lifestyle, most especially among millennials. In fact, those born between the years 1982 to 2002, hardly view traveling as a luxury like past generations, but believe it to be a necessity. Proof is found in their social media posts where travel is never excluded from trending topics.
For millennials, traveling allows them to take full advantage of their generation’s “YOLO” mantra—that is, the trendy “You Only Live Once” attitude—literally opening them to a world of experience. And in the case of celebrity millennials and real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, traveling has a huge bonus of steeling their relationship.
Indeed, isn’t seeing the world with the one you love a truly wonderful experience?
Young and Daez have gained a huge following on social media through their video blogs—or vlogs—where they generously share their escapades in and out of the country. The pair, who only confirmed their six-year relationship back in February, quickly became an inspiration among other young couples whose relationship goals include wandering the world together.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, the GMA Network artists generously share how they first fell in love with traveling, then with each other, with each journey bringing them closer together.
The traveler and non-traveler
According to Young, she was never big on traveling until she started hanging out with Daez some years ago with a group of friends.
“The first time we traveled together was to Hong Kong in 2010. We weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend yet, and we planned the trip with a group of friends,” recalled the 27-year-old former “non-traveler,” who, in 2013 ironically went on to become Miss World. “There was a seat sale and we each got a roundtrip flight for only P4,500!”
Back then, Young admitted she was especially scared of traveling on her own, particularly when her trips required transfers in other countries. Traveling with Daez, who always seemed to know what he was doing from check-in through immigration and take-off, however, gave her a sense of calm, so much so that when she had to travel on her own, she would even call him to ask how to work out her transfers at stopovers.
In contrast, Daez had always been curious about traveling, growing up in family where his parents always had to go on trips.
“My parents had to travel a lot when we were young but they couldn’t bring us along because we’re nine siblings in all. It was just too expensive,” related the 29-year-old actor and program host. “I became curious about traveling since then so when my brother and I were old enough to pay for our trips, we kept going wherever we could. That started it all for me.”
Thinking back to his first trip with Young, Daez said, “I think Megan was just OK with traveling when we went to Hong Kong. She had never really traveled alone or even just with friends so I noticed how somewhere in the middle of the trip, she got homesick for her family. We were there for five days, and comforting her, I think that became the ice breaker for us as well.”
As they both carried on with their careers, traveling also became more frequent from them separately—Young for the Miss World pageant and her eventual yearlong reign, and Daez for travel segments in a number of GMA Network programs.
“Even for Miss World, there was anxiety for Megan when it came to traveling, but eventually she became more open to it especially since she also saw me traveling on my own if she was somewhere else, doing my own thing,” Daez added.
With Young’s responsibilities as beauty queen taking her away from the Philippines—and Daez—for long periods of time, the two made sure that they did something special whenever she would get back.
“That’s when we became travel buddies,” they chimed, leaving out the part when they officially got together, but counting some 20 destinations within the Philippines and around the world as their points of destination. Young and Daez have been to Subic, Zambales and Dasol, Pangasinan; Japan, China and Maldives; the United States, Canada, Scotland and other parts of Europe to name a few.
Asked about their most memorable trip together, they completely agreed on South Africa.
“I think our South Africa trip last year was the most memorable because it was the most well planned trip we had. The others were always spontaneous. That was the first trip—and the only trip so far—that we planned more than a month ahead,” Daez explained.
“We were in Singapore for four days then we went to South Africa for 10 days,” Young offered. “So we traveled for two weeks, which is also the longest trip we’ve ever taken together. It was my dream Safari trip—we climbed Lion’s Head in Cape Town then went to Table Mountain. It was mostly hiking that time. Then we attended a friend’s wedding, which was one of the reasons why we went there and built a trip around the occasion.”
When choosing their destination, the couple consults the internet like most millennials do. As such, they call themselves “DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Travelers” who plan, manage and book their flights, accommodations and itineraries online.
“Choosing where to go to is super random for us. Like if we see an article that excites us, then we try to plan a trip around that. For example, we saw an article and a video about this Japanese omelet or the omurice, so we researched the best place where they make it, and although we haven’t done that yet, we’re planning to do side trips to make the most of it. We also sometimes look at Google Maps and figure out which place we haven’t been to and just say, ‘I want to go there’,” Young giggled.
And while most travelers choose to go to popular tourist spots, Young and Daez prefer to explore undiscovered places and once there, head to where the locals usually go.
“For sure, we’re the adventurous type and not the touristy type—not that there’s anything wrong with that. We also don’t mind getting sweaty or dirty unlike other people who make sure they’re really dressed on their trips. We find that to be a waste of time, but again, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s really all about preference,” Daez noted.
Young agreed, adding, “We have vlogs but we’re not conscious of what we wear. So sometime he’s like, ‘Come on let’s go,’ and I’d just change into shorts and a shirt. We don’t really travel in fashion.”
Moreover, as DIY Travelers, the couple pointed out that while others may think money is no object for celebrities like themselves, they are bargain hunters like most tourists these days, often on the look out for promotions be it for airline tickets or accommodations.
“We try to play it in the middle when we travel,” Young explained. “That is, if we save on housing, we know we’ll have a little extra for good flight seats and vice versa. Like everyone else, we set aside money for travel and calculate everything. I save up for our trips and am happy to do it because it’s really something we enjoy doing.”
For his part, Daez said, “More often than not, we are very low maintenance. We don’t mind staying in a budget hotel. We don’t need to eat out in a fancy restaurant. We actually like eating in local eateries. As for saving up, I also have a fund for traveling, and I set aside cash for it every month.”
With their countless adventures, Young and Daez believe that traveling has played a major part in strengthening their relationship for the past six years.
“We have a lot of fun traveling together even though we also have small misunderstandings on our trips. It’s during our travels that I learn more and more about Mikael,” Young shared.
“I agree,” Daez seconded. “Traveling has helped us to get to know each other better. Individually, as a millennial, I think traveling also helps to get to know yourself too. Because when you’re at home, you’re in your comfort zone, but when you travel to an unfamiliar place, you learn to adjust to the weather, the culture, take care of yourself because you find yourself in a different situation.”
While the two still evade the question of getting married, they have already vowed to travel to more places and their dream destinations together. For Daez, it’s Antartica, and for Young, Morocco.
“There are so many places we still want to visit because the world is full of endless destinations,” Young enthused.
“And we know every trip will bring us closer together,” Daez ended.