Hey 2018, I cant wait to leave you! The pain you brought me was the worst and the hardest that I had endured. I didn’t even know how I was able to pull through, but I did.
At the same time, a part of me would like to hold on to you. Leaving you means I will have to leave the last year that we shared together. Facing an entire year without my hero.
But life goes on as they say, no matter how hard it had been. I’ll bring with me memories not just of 2018 but all the years weve been together. Now, I bravely welcome you 2019, for whatever it is you have in store for me.
New Year’s Day while on our way back to Manila after the holidays, I asked a loved one why he doesn’t make a list of goals for the New Year. His answer was simple “I don’t want to set expectations and disappoint myself when I fail to achieve it”. Curiously, I asked again, “Then how do you make things happen in your life without planning?” And he immediately answered, “As long as I know what I’m doing and it will take me to what I want to be, I’m good with it, no need to write it down.”
On the contrary, it has been a tradition for me marking down my plans to kick-off the year. My progress stimulates a sense of excitement as I tick-off my lists every year-end. The regulars usually are my travel goals to as many places as I can, saving up PhpXXX amount, career leap, losing weight and learning something new. My 2017 didn’t fail me except for the losing weight part (LOL). After that conversation, I contemplated for a while. Do I want to change how I do things this year and try doing it spontaneously? Will I ditch listing down my goals/plans for 2018? Eleven days after New Year, I finally decided to stick to what I got used to. Not because I don’t want to take chances and do something new. I do, actually. It’s just that, it works for me so why get rid of it?
In the era of social media, everything is public, fast-paced, #Goals posted everywhere, associating our lives and achievements from that of others and the end-products are pressure and stress. I too experienced it at some point. More often my goals were patterned after the clamor of the society. Sometimes the intent and purpose doesn’t define me. At that moment, I paused to think what really makes me happy? Who do I really want to become? Then flashes of things that I love doing crossed my mind – fulfillment after reading a good book, writing a blog, going back to running, visiting more heritage houses and museums and as plain as enjoying a cup of coffee during friends meet-up. With that thought, there’s no point in pushing myself too hard. I want to recourse to conventional activities which are less stressful and will make me feel better. I will still navigate but with a purpose of fulfilling the old soul in me and not just for the show-off bucketlist. I will work not for the heck of getting that “title” but because I don’t want an idle mind. I will still spend prudently but scrap setting a specific amount, instead I will save to buy more books and to build a shelf for my stuff. This year, I will take things on my own pace as modestly as I can. With my own definition of contentment.
And for the greater things, I’ll leave it up to 2018 to surprise me!
Traveloka’s blog contest: “How Travel Changed My Life”
2010 when I had my first taste of this obsession called traveling. It was a 3-day trip with friends in Boracay. Back then, flights were still very limited and expensive, so we booked a one way flight and decided to go back to Manila via RoRo. It was my first trip without my family, first trip outside Luzon, first trip that I financed myself; a completely new experience for me. From then on, I make it a point to travel at least once or twice a year. I was so fixated in booking flights just to get that stamps on my passport, ride a plane, visit tourist spots and to mark off my vacation leaves. As it turns out, my idea of traveling was very shallow.
April 2014, I finished my post graduate studies. After surpassing all the challenges in school while working, I decided to reward myself with a vacation on Holy Week. I longed to experience that kind of traveling where you are on your own, commuting, just your feet and your adventure instinct. While watching television, a travel show featured Pampanga and its delicacies. Given the accessibility and its sophisticated culinary creations, Pampanga seemed to be a perfect weekend getaway. I was telling one of my good friends about it and later on found out that he too wanted to get a taste on what the province has to offer. Although it was supposed to be a solo adventure but a friend’s company is very much welcome. I made a deal with him that I will be on top of the planning. I did my homework pretty seriously – Google, maps, blogs and friends from Pampanga were of great help. On the day of our trip, we found ourselves off to an exciting adventure. We wandered around Pampanga riding jeeps, walked under the scorching heat, got lost, congratulate ourselves when we got the directions right, endured starvation because most of the stores were closed in observance of Holy Week and made us extend our stay for us to taste Gill’s Sherbet when it opened on Easter Sunday. I can go on and on to tell every bits and pieces of our travel but all I wanted to say is that, that trip changed my outlook in traveling.
Planning your own trips will require you to be on top of every detail. As you go through the process, you will find interesting facts about the place, you will uncover its rich history and customs, the curiosity about each destination will ignite. Traveling made me appreciate the beauty of the busy streets, dining in carinderia with that long line of local eaters, riding jeepneys, tricycles, habal-habal or buses, visiting museums and galleries, unfolding its antiquity and experiencing how the locals live.
As I discover Philippines and other countries, I also discover more about myself. Traveling helped me to gain control of my ability to plan my own trip. It challenged my patience, tolerance and fears. There were times when we got lost, rain poured hard, stomach ached, items misplaced and committed mistakes after mistakes. All these are there to test our judgment, our composure and our capabilities. Misunderstandings and disagreements are inevitable when traveling with companions, but you will be surprised on how at the same time, traveling will strengthen your relationships with them. While I have my own faith, travel has taught me to respect other’s traditions, religion and beliefs. Truly, a different perspective was unfolded in me.
Most importantly, traveling imparts gratitude and appreciation. Reading blogs from other travelers equipped me on how to organize my trips. It readied my expectations, what to try, where to go, and what to do and not do, etc. As a way of giving back, I decided to create my own blog site where I can talk about my travel experiences and share my discoveries and takeaways. I made my Instagram page a venue where I can post places I visited and the story that lies behind it. I owe it to other travelers like me, that I may contribute even modest information to their future travels. More so, to the locals of the places that I’ve been to, it’s my own little way to help them promote their tourism. I maybe an amateur blogger and yet to explore more places, but I will do my best to advocate history and culture of every place that I will visit.
How travel changed our lives may differ, whatever it maybe, we are one more of a person right after every travel. Each experience will add up to a person we’ve become. For me, traveling is a responsibility. It’s up to each one of us on how we will make use of our experiences in traveling.
Along the way, I not only found purpose in traveling but I also found someone to do it together with, my good friend who accompanied me in Pampanga. It has been three years that we have been navigating together and we are just getting started.
Writing is one form of communication. It provides information and knowledge to its readers. It does not only bring pleasure to the writer but to its readers as well. I’m a frustrated journalist, I admit. Writing is not just a hobby to me; it has been a company whenever there is stream of emotions and ideas. Be it happy, sad, new places to see, new experiences to share, I find comfort jotting these down on a piece of paper. It has been a habit to me to write these experiences and kept them stored in my memory by reading them. It does not only give me that nostalgic feeling but it also gives me lessons and inspiration to continue creating new ones. But most of these pieces were kept and read by me alone. I haven’t had the chance to share my articles to other people. This gives me an opportunity to express myself, to explore on what else I can do, to tell the world my thoughts, opinions and views without fear.
This place will be an extension of who I’m, more probably a reflection of who this girl is, and maybe at some point might be of any help to my readers. This is Vette, sharing a piece of her.