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.
Endings are never easy. Not even the ones that you fervently hoped for to end: a toxic relationship, a difficult mountain hike, a senseless war. Everything must surmount some sort of obstacle in order to get where you want to: the end of it. Deciding to end my job as a banker was easy. It was the actual doing it that took 10 years. In those 10 years that I have been working, I always knew that banking was not for me and that eventually, I would have to resign. But things got comfortable and ironically, that made it more difficult to leave. When people ask me why I resigned, I tell them precisely that. The ending that was 10 years in the making, as I would like to call it.
I probably haven’t been travelling lately or perhaps the times have caught up with me. I was recently in Bali with my friends and on our second day we planned to go to some spa for a massage after a long day of sight-seeing. I asked our driver, Ari— a good-natured guy whose English accent can rival any call center agent working for a European account, if he has an idea on good spas around Ubud. He mentioned one as what he can think of as reputable and I should have agreed right away because when I mentioned, “any other else?,” poor guy was caught off guard and started handing me his iPhone: “Here, you can take a look at Google”. There you have it girls and boys, the universalization of travel. If this was years ago, Thomas Friedman could’ve gotten an island tan if he went to Bali instead of India and might have ended up with that same conclusion: the world is flat indeed. But I digress. If anything, Bali has rekindled my love for traveling which was almost lost because it seemed, for a while, every place is the same. The key, I reckon from this trip, is to just let things be. Sometimes, the more you struggle with finding what’s better or what’s new makes you miss the goodness that just clearly surrounds you. So, did google found us a good spa? No. We found a spa ourselves just by walking around. As any self-respecting traveler should.