Lust to Wander

Once I started, I never wanted to stop.

 

Before I set out on my first solo trip abroad, I never had the itch to travel. I was fine with staying in Manila, reporting to work on weekdays, going to the cinema and food tripping on weekends. I did go on vacations but those didn’t feel like traveling to me. 

We spent a week here when my Tita Yeyan came home from the States. This place literally means vacation in Tagalog.

My eldest sister always planned short out of town trips. We would spend long weekends in Baguio or Tagaytay. She took us to the Batangas Race Circuit when she had to cover events there. I even scored a free weekend in Pagudpud and Ilocos Norte courtesy of her housemate. My weekends would have been boring without her. 

My sister with her son Nico . She was always the fun and adventurous one.

These family vacations were fun but I never had the gnawing sadness when the trip was nearing its end (unlike now). I was always okay with going back to my regular routine. I guess at the back of my mind, I thought there’s going to be another one. Then shit hit the fan and my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. 

My Ate Claire. She was already sick when this was taken.

My sister gave it her all just like with everything she did. She fought, prayed and kept hoping. But in September of 2013 after two years of battle, her body succumbed to cancer. 

Sorry I got sidetracked, writing about my sister gives me the feels, that part about her would have been longer if I hadn’t remembered what this post is about. So going back, in between these family vacations I also traveled with friends from school.

Now, these I feel are real travels and not just vacations. We got to live with locals in Bohol, we spent almost a day just walking around Pamilacan Island. Then we had this trip to Cebu in 2012 where we didn’t make reservations at any hotel. Our first night was spent walking the streets of Mandaue City looking for a cheap place to stay. It was exhausting but things like these are part of traveling and they were fun. 

This was at the Hanging Bridge in Bohol back in ’08 or ’09. We had to pay 10 pesos to cross. It’s not that high but I have a slight fear of heights.

As fun as these trips were, I still didn’t feel the need to travel that much, there was no hunger, no yearning to explore. I was still okay going back to my regular programming. Then in 2014 that all changed when I was forced to go on a solo trip abroad.

My friends were supposed to go with me. The plan was to watch the  WTA year-end finals which Singapore was hosting for the first time. But as the tournament neared, they started cancelling one by one. We already bought flight tickets and I didn’t want to waste mine so after the last one cancelled, I prepared for my first solo backpacking trip.

This trip awakened Dora, the explorer in me. I can’t explain the excitement I felt when I first looked out the plane window and saw Changi Airport. I felt no fear at all which was weird since I had no one to call if I get into trouble and the lady I was sitting next to told me her traveling companion got offloaded in NAIA. I wasn’t even sure if the immigration officer in Singapore would let me stay. For all I know, they could send me back to Manila. But no, I was simply thrilled. I was embarking to the unknown and it was exhilarating.

The first time I went to Singapore I didn’t do that much research so instead of getting off at Bayfront station, I went all the way to Marina Bay station and had to walk back to MBS.

I used to say that there is a certain high in whacking tennis balls. I now feel the same high when I’m about to go some place I’ve never been to. It isn’t just the excitement that drives me to travel but also the desire to see the wonder that is out there. I was awestruck when I first saw Bayon Temple. I had chills when I was cruising through a very foggy Halong Bay. I could sit and just look at Marina Bay Sands or Petronas at night. I would give anything to go back to Palawan and see El Nido again or go to Coron this time. I am actually finding it hard to post about my previous travels because I can’t find good photos to share. Why? Because instead of taking hundreds of shots, I took my time to take in the beauty of these places with my own eyes. Of course, I would have done differently had I known I was going to start a blog. 

El Nido in Palawan

Traveling is also an escape. When I’m traveling I am free from the day to day monotony of my job. I can go where ever I want at any time I want. There are no other people to please but myself. Waking up and not having any responsibilities for a week or so is friggin’ awesome.

Before, I couldn’t care less if I get to travel or not. Now seat sales make me crazy. I check my calendar almost everyday. I count the days until my next adventure. I take note of holidays. I don’t care if I’ll be traveling alone or not and I don’t care where the roads (or plane) will take me. I will pretty much go anywhere. Traveling for me now is not just the destination but the journey itself.

The appetite for travel is insatiable. I wish money grows on trees so I can appease the beast. For now I just have to be content with the knowledge that there are still three plane tickets with my name on them.

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