I like joining Facebook contests because you don’t really lose anything by joining. Some contests only require you to “Like” a post or make a comment then you are automatically eligible to win a prize.
This happened to me twice for the same specific prize: concert tickets to one of my favorite bands, We Were Evergreen.
There was just one catch: the gigs were in London.
I joined the contest because I didn’t really expect to win. The gig was four days away when I entered the contest just by commenting on a post. I think it was a day later when they announced the winner.
And I was like:
If I had a First World Passport I wouldn’t have any problems booking a flight to London in four days because there would be no visa requirement. But sadly, I have a Philippine passport. Visa application could take weeks. I couldn’t do anything but wallow in self-pity. I was seriously on the verge of tears for the next couple of days.
So I told them that I wouldn’t be able to see the concert. But I promised myself that one day I would see We Were Evergreen play, visa application be damned.
So a few more months passed. Then there was another Facebook contest for concert tickets to another We Were Evergreen concert. And this time the gig was three months away! So my chances of actually seeing them play were bigger than the last time, yay!
So I commented.
And WON! 😀
I couldn’t believe my luck! I was beyond happy that I won, and this time I had no reason to miss the concert. I promised myself that I would push through with this trip no matter what. I would make this dream a reality. I just had to apply for a UK Visa first.
I Googled everything about applying for a UK Visa. Most of the documents needed were just your usual visa application stuff like bank certificate, certificate of employment, ITR, proof of accommodation, etc. I made sure everything was complete. I even included a printout of the Facebook post about my winning the contest to prove that I had a reason to visit London.
The UK Visa application didn’t require an interview. It was fairly easy as long as you had all the required documents. But the wait was nerve-wracking. I waited about two weeks before I got an email from the UK Visa Application Center stating that “a decision has already been made on your visa application,” but they didn’t specify what decision that was. They also said that my passport was ready for pickup, but I had no idea if that passport would have a UK Visa stamped on it.
This was already mid-September and the concert was on October 9. I still haven’t booked my flights and the fares were getting higher each day. So when I finally got my passport, I heaved a sigh of relief when there was a UK Visa stamped on it, and it was a 6-month multiple entry visa to boot!
Of course, we didn’t go to London just to see the concert. Before the trip we also researched for upcoming London concerts of our favorite bands. We also saw Lisa Hannigan and Slow Club play live. They were all amazing.
We spent ten days in the UK, being tourists around London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. It was a short trip but a very memorable one.
It was my first time in Europe, and it was the trip that made me realize that dreams do not have to stay dreams. You really just have to want something so badly that you would do anything to make it happen.