The coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Bronte casts a spell during magic hour.
It was the early days of winter in Australia, with temperatures fluctuating throughout the day, like a bloody wind vane on a hurricane. It’s a confusing climate, to me at least. There I was in my jeans and thick cotton jacket, obviously dressed for the cold but eating a chilled Açaí smoothie bowl because somehow, I also felt quite warm. I was sat under a tree in a school courtyard in Bondi, a beach town just a few kilometres from Sydney’s city centre. Every Sunday, Bondi Public School becomes Bondi Markets– the school courtyard transformed to an outdoor food court, replete with colourful plastic chairs and wooden tables and surrounded by food stalls along the perimeter; the main school ground is dotted with stalls selling artisanal and vintage goods showcased by enterprising and artsy folks. I managed to buy a delicate gold necklace with a Bodhi tree pendant for $15. Not exactly cheap, like most things sold here, but the craftsmanship is beautiful. I thought it can serve as a good luck charm for the rest of my trip in Australia and particularly for my adventure that late afternoon.
Travel to most is an escape from reality, but what if it makes you experience your reality? I write this prologue to a recent trip to bare my thoughts.
Do you ever have that trip where everything just seems a blur? And you’re not even doing any drugs or alcohol? I just happened to be in one on my recent trip to Australia. It was my second time to be there and while things do seem familiar in a way, it was also uncanny that it was very different. I can tell you that I felt like someone in a dream-like state. You know, how the details are not exactly easy to remember but you felt strongly just the same? Whereas on my previous travels before, everything seemed palpable and exciting, this trip was rather wistful. All because something happened– I grew up. Strange, isn’t it?
Sometimes, I do not write on my travel journal. A not so rare occasion, mind you. There are many reasons for this. The recurring one is laziness. Sometimes a depression bout gets in the way, too, if I am being honest. But for my not-so-recent trip to Dumaguete (including Manjuyod and Siquijor), I just simply did not have the time. Which is a good reason because it just means that I spent it all adventuring and being outside. I could’ve written away when I got home– memories still fresh on my mind. But, it has been a whirlwind last month. I only have a few days after this trip to prepare for my next one, in Australia. An excellent travel planner, I am not. And so, it is a good thing my camera is always with me on my travels. It records things that I otherwise will not have written about. Just a click away, sure, but I also enjoy how visually, I can also tell a story.
I think I’ve just been blacklisted from ever taking surfing lessons in San Juan. Yesterday, just before sunset, I agreed to take surf lessons this morning with Ate Marilyn, my constant instructor whenever I happen to be on this side of La Union. Always, she recommends an ungodly hour like 6 or 7AM. And always, I come in late. But worse, like this time, I never make it at all. I remember waking up at 6 but then I closed my eyes. Opened it. Its ten past seven. I reason with myself for another hour that perhaps this is why after all these years, I have never made it past to surfing on my own: I am not a early riser– a trait that most surfers have. Then I remember: Of course I was tricked to saying yes when surfing is not really on my agenda this time around. Because this time around– with 7 hours left to be exact, I only have room for one activity and that is trekking down (or up?) to Tangadan Falls. Surf lessons be damned.
If anything on my Facebook news feed is to be believed, it is that everyone and their mother have been to Ilocos. Everyone but me. And so, with a hiatus from work and school and with a new camera on hand, I decided to go on a four-day trip to Ilocos Norte and Vigan. Alone, obviously.