the travel bug

I am itching to travel again.

I’ve always wanted to travel the world. It hit me early because my Dad let us watch movies at such a young age and I saw that the world was so much bigger than the four corners of my home. He gave us, at an early age, a world view and I fell in love with maps and would look at the Atlas every now and then to look at all the different countries in the world.

My trip to Bondi beach in Sydney, sometime around 2005

My trip to Bondi beach in Sydney, sometime around 2005

I wanted to study abroad but we couldn’t afford it. My cousins on my Mom’s side of the family left in the 80s to migrate to the US because the Philippines was not a stable place at the time of Marcos. I knew, somewhere out there, my cousin’s were growing up differently than I was.

When I was thirteen, my parents were able to save enough money to bring the whole family (sans my eldest brother) to Hong Kong. We were there for five or six days and we had a blast. When I was eighteen, they were able to save enough money to get the whole family — complete and accounted for — to Rome and Florence. We were there for fourteen days. Ten days in Rome and four days in Florence. That experience was magnificent but I was too young to really enjoy it. I wasn’t adventurous yet. I was still scared to go out and explore on my own, as I am wont to do now.

I wanted to travel and take a post-graduate degree abroad or work abroad by my Dad was against it. He’s quite patriotic and felt that I was so impressionable that I would lose myself and my being a Filipino at that age. He might’ve been right. I was impressionable. It was his opinion but I had put so much into that opinion that it prevented me from applying for Fulbright scholarships and the like. I never really tried. I wanted his approval.

I only found out much later that he might’ve been mad had I gone out and did it; but he would have been proud of me because I went and did something on my own. I was afraid for all the wrong reasons and I had used his “disapproval” as a crutch because I was scared of getting out of my comfort zones and scared of doing things alone.

Eventually, I was able to travel again, this time because of work. I’ve been to Hong Kong and Singapore; Ho Chi Minh; Shanghai and Beijing; Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. I went there as a journalist. I went to Jakarta and Bali as a tourist, on my own. It felt amazing to have been brought to these places on the merit of my own work and to have these trips paid for because of what I could do.

No one “gave” it to me. I got sponsored because I had something to offer and I did what was expected of me.

dancing and spinning fire in Bali, Indonesia in 2007. they watched me while i danced as if no one was looking.

dancing and spinning fire in Bali, Indonesia in 2007. they watched me while i danced as if no one was looking.

Now, the desire to see the rest of the world has come again, and very strongly. And I feel like I’m firmly rooted here that I could survive living in another country and not lose what it means to be a Filipino. I could give that to my Dad, at least. I need to see what else is out there and to experience some other kind of life so that I can grow; so that I know what I’m made of.

Two years, living in another country. That would be ideal. Maybe I could study and learn a new language. I’d love to work. I’d definitely be writing. Something. Anything. Just to taste a different kind of life for a bit. To stretch muscles I didn’t know I had. To test my resolve. To broaden my world view. To change things up, to keep me on my toes, to bring new insights into my writing.

I really want to travel. I really want to travel again.

The whole point of being a freelancer is that I can control my own time. I am not committed to being in any one place. I’ve proven, with all my friends and family scattered all over, that I can keep in touch and connect from a distance. I’m not leaving anyone behind. I’m just going off on my own adventure, this time around.

I’m going to be thirty-five this year. I’m ready. It’s time to see the world.



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