|2014 New Year's Eve in Singapore|
It’s funny to recall how I started my 2014. I was in Singapore at the time, coming from a trip in Myanmar, and me and friends have planned to be in the Marina Bay for the fireworks during the countdown; There was just so much alcohol on the dining table in the flat that we opened some to kill time. Unfortunately, we drank way too much to even make it to Marina Bay Sands. 2 of us couldn’t even make it stand awake by 12MN, not even lay in a comfortable position in bed, sleeping with still their work clothes on.
This is but normal; I live a wasted life and I enjoy it that way.
Later the year 2013, while I was having a good time with my colleagues and my job at the company that I am working, I felt like I have always been short of the time to travel. I regret having to rush every destination as I always only have a weekend to spend. I make good connection with strangers and households I meet everywhere, and I wonder just how much more I could build if I were to spend more time.
|Maldives Feb 2014|
|Abra Apr 2014|
|Higantes Mar 2014|
|Porac Jan 2014|
|Batanes, Jan 2014|
|Calaguas, Feb 2014|
|Pantabangan, Mar 2014|
|Quirino Prov, Mar 2014|
|Lubang, Mar 2014|
|Linapacan Apr 2014|
bamboo train when we motorbiked MNL to Bicol in Feb 2014
Then again, there were the questions of how long can I sustain it? Where do I get financial support? Where do I go? What do I do next? There were more questions really versus wanting one thing … to have my time and space. Nonetheless, I am that person who thinks that the harder it gets, the more pleasure it begets.
I felt it was awkward to submit my resignation towards the end of the year because of the holiday vibes. Likewise, it was just as awkward to open up the year with a resignation.
I waited until February and luckily, I was given the push. April will be my last month.
Until the night before my last day, I was contemplating on whether I’m really pushing through or not. The company that has afforded me the travels, my team who made work and weekday life just as fun, and my manager who has been most considerate..
I left thecountry April 23, 2014 stuffed with a 23kg backpack (didn’t I just feel likeI’m not coming back?)
|how i looked like at the immigration queue in NAIA 4 en route to Malaysia|
|planting rice in Kep, Cambodia with some random family|
|how, to save money, i did my laundry in Hostels for 7 months as I travel around southeast ASIA|
The longest travel I’ve done so far was 13 days, and I after 2 weeks in this trip, my smile has just gone wider and wider. No pressure! I needed not to run here and there; needed not to board a plane or bus on a Sunday evening.. little by little, I lost track of the day of the week, or the date of the month. There was a time I didn’t even know what month it is.
By this time, the only thing I had to track was my expenses, and how many days I have available on my visa.
|dinner and drinking with bus employees in their staffhouse because I missed the last bus to Paxse, Laos and stayed with them overnight|
|getting the cheapest haircut at the nastiest places; Vietnam has the nastiest by the way.. under any tree|
|staying at the cheapest possible place; $1 dorm in Silhanoukville, Cambodia|
I am an agnostic at this point, but there are those times when I lie whole day on the beach, or just walking endlessly on a heritage city, or on my window seat in a bus, where I just say “Thank you for this privilege. For whatever I may have done to deserve it, I wish I’d known, for I’ll do it over and over and over.” If only I was convinced earlier it is that cheap to get such a freedom, I would have restrained myself from every Starbucks cup, Red Horse, or a gourmet lunch in the mall – that for every starbucks cup or bottle of beer, I would have stayed one more longer in Silhanoukville Cambodia or even 2-3 days of each of that gourmet lunch we’d spend for during paydays.
There were a lot of mishaps every so often, things i am never prepared for, never thought will happen, but nonetheless i will always be thankful about. For, as I always say, it is these uncalled for circumstances, when you are caught off hook, when you least expect it, that you learn to face or conquer them; You learn more about yourself; what you are capable of and what not - what you need to learn further
|driving Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia on my own bike|
|volunteering in a Hostel in Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia|
More, meeting travelers who had been on the road for years, doing things I barely thought they’d do, just to keep hanging on to the travel, gave me some answers to my hesitations before. There were those Caucasians who’d do hostel and bar jobs for local wages, which me, myself as an Asian, at first, didn’t think was practical. Some would even do for free just for accommodation and food.
Me thinks It’s a simple of question of what you really want to do? Options are only two: keep being on travel or go home and work. I was firm to my choice though, it was to BE AWAY. If there is one thing I had reinforced within me by now, it would have been being firm and focused with my ultimate wants… no what ifs, no buts.
|meeting and hanging out with other travellers from everywhere|
|the mesmerizing Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai|
Seven months passed and my passport is 6 months to go. Our consulates couldn’t do it on time of my visa allowances on the countries, and so had to fly back home to the Philippines. I didn’t really look further to my options as spending december at home for some social work will be Christmas worthy.
Some nights I’d just sit out and stare at the Sky.. something I may have not done at home before. I’d smile at just a sight of ricefields, or even just ducks or cows, or little kids running around, or elderlies laughing loudly whilst missing some teeth.
|biten by a dog in Cambodia|
|Getting super paranoia from the Happy pizzas in cambodia; I didn't think i'd ever wake up|
Then, being home, waiting for my passport release which is in about close to 2 months to go, I get the temptations. The corporate zones are just around, and I am a YES away to affording again even those expensive things I like. But there goes that question again, Why give up 5 days of my every week in exchange for petty luxury and fun, when I can keep it at a minimum and have all the time to stare at mountains, float in the sea, dip in springs, walk aimlessly on cities, and sit over beer and coffee with like-minded strangers. It was.. NO, but THANKS.
So, 2014.. I’m am not coming back to Corporate Life and I am on indefinite leave from the City; You made me feel like an idiot for even hesitating and not having to think about this, years and years go. There were backpackers aged 18, and i feel such a loser. Still, 2014 was my year of courage. There are some more extreme things I have not dared myself to do... and I look forward for 2015 to bring me all that.. cheers for 365 days HIGH.