Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seven Destinations, Seven Weekends, One Whirlwind Local Travel Adventure

I am one of those people who wish to travel in foreign and local destinations and stay there for a week, a month or even a year. Forget all the trappings of work,  and just set off on an adventure while still doing what I love to do - to write. I long for long-term travel. And who doesn't? That feeling of freedom and abandon. That spontaneity. That opportunity to live the life of my dreams. Ah. A girl can dream.  

But because I need money to fund my escapes, and because I looove my job and I don't want to lose it by resigning or being fired, I have to make a compromise. Because life is about compromises. We can't have it all. Or can we?

So to  at least satisfy my yearning to travel locally, I availed of this airline's promo which promised that I can have unlimited travel for ten grand. Impulsive me went for it! But there was a catch, heck, there is always a catch - you can only avail of the "unlimited" travel within the period of seven weeks. Since I cannot opt for long-term travel, I decided upon the next best thing to enjoy this deal - I decided that I will travel every weekends for the next seven weeks!

The grand plan:
Dumaguete – Siquijor        August 28- September 2
Kalibo                              September 3-5
Cebu                                September 11-13
Bacolod                           September 17-19
Legazpi                            September 24- 26
Davao                              October 1-3
Palawan                           October 13- 16

So this was the plan: I'd travel every weekend, even for as short as three days for seven weeks. I told myself, I will complete the itinerary. Short vacations are still vacations. Weekend travels may be short, but it's enough to feel the vibe of the destination, to sample the local food, to connect with new people. I promised myself that I would go, even when I have deadlines. I'd bring my trusty laptop so I can write, inside the hotel, or at a local cafe. There is still something exhilirating about working in a new setting.

Plus it will be a great way to fight lethargy - all tickets are already printed for the next seven weeks. All I need is a map, moolah and myself! 

So, was I able to stick with ze plan?

I traveled solo but I think TRAVEL FATIGUE tagged along. 

I was only able to travel to four destinations out of the projected seven. Sigh. Three things, flexibility, graciousness and simple gung-ho attitude can make you brush your disappointments like yesterday’s dandruff.
And I still think that the whole experience is one for the books.

Plus, despite not being able to complete my itinerary, I realized that the four-local destination glimpse to our motherland made me state this  very important thing that I have learned: Whoever says that The Philippines is inferior to another country when it comes to natural wonders and beauty is a complete fool.

Nothing can beat that one moment - when you are riding the local habal-habal ripping the coastline of a remote island, sleeping alone in a hut in no less than Siquijor Island, riding the ferry boat traversing the choppy Bohol Sea, eating buffet lunch in Mactan Island, writing/working while having breakfast in Real Coffee, or being stranded in Bicol because of typhoon Pedring- whatever you do, that moment can come unexpectedly, when you realize that you are living your dream, you are exploring and you are happily, breathlessly alive.

Up next, the first leg: My solo Dumaguete-Siquijor Adventure! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life Changing Cambodia

It's not just about the magnificent temples. As much as there is beauty in brilliance and in human genius, religion, spirituality and greatness, there is a painful divinity in every tragedy. Cambodia will always be etched in my heart. Greatness, will equal great disaster. Pain and death, beauty and bravery. Two extremely opposite  human experiences happened to this country. Learning about their pain, makes me want to hug every Cambodian, smile and buy bracelets at every Cambodian kid peddling their goods, lucky and happy to be alive.