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.
(Even if photographed on an iPhone. On a cloudy day. Sorry.)
There have been numerous trips and travel opportunities that have not pushed through in my quarter-life– trips that are so well-planned, detailed and dreamed on for days but then something happens and then one thing leads to another and then, the trip ended before it even started. I believe this happens to most of us, and it doesn’t even have to be out of town travel. It could be simple trips or quick get-together with friends that goes awry after you have exhausted time (and sometimes money) to plan it out. And then there are things that you don’t plan for, things that are just of the moment and then it all falls into place. Is careful planning a jinx in itself? But before I further discuss this and bore you to death, let me just say that our summer trips here at QLT for this year are rather unplanned and yet they turned out to be the most fun we’ve had. But then again most of our trips are unplanned AND fun. What am I even saying? Yeah this is just regular stuff. I might actually bore you to death.
Or not. Because we went to Baler. You cannot be bored at Baler. You just can’t.