I wanted to go somewhere far. I wanted to escape.
There came a point in my life when I felt I was at my lowest. Something seemed to be missing. I was in search for that piece that will make me whole, without even knowing what piece I was looking for that could make me complete. I was at a crossroad not knowing which path to take. I was at the edge of a cliff thinking to just stay where I was, or take that great leap to jump and fly. I’ve read this story a lot of times. I’ve heard this countlessly. But I never imagined that I’ll have to go through that phase. I was completely lost.
It was in the last month of 2010 when we unexpectedly met. You asked me to join you to know you more. You promised you’d show me things I’ve never seen. You promised you’d let me experience things I’ve never done before. And without having any idea on what could possibly happen, I was convinced. I gave up my job and gave in to your invitation.
You let me first experience you in the country’s oldest city – Cebu. Awkwardness was what I felt during that moment since it was my first time. I was hesitant to try things you were convincing me to do. But as we went along, I started to get the feel of it. Just like a child who just learned how to ride a bike. Like a kite flyer who finally understood the wind. Like a surfer who finally learned how to go with the waves. And that started what is now our life-long commitment.
For more than three years now, you’ve been very true to your promise. You brought me to places I never imagined I will be able to set foot in. You helped my fly. You made me float in the turquoise waters of the Philippines. You made me endure those day-long bus trips. You showed me that a whole new world exists under water. You proved that the jungle is not dangerous at all. We’ve crossed a lot of seas. We’ve reached summits. We’ve traversed endless trails. We’ve taken off-beaten tracks. We’ve proven the “borderlessness” of this world.
You helped me conquer endless fears of mine. You rallied behind me in trying exotic delicacies like the tamilok of Palawan. You helped me loosen up and dance to the beat of the Masskara Festival of Bacolod and the Sinulog Festival of Cebu.
You made me believe that it is okay not to know what is there in the dark as we entered the Sumaguing Cave of Sagada. You were right that life is indeed full of adventure as we tried White Water rafting in Cagayan de Oro and the zip lines of Lake Sebu, Bukidnon and Southern Leyte. You showed me that not all giants are harmful just like the butandings of Oslob.
You made me believe in magic as we landed in the mystical Island of Siquijor. You reminded me that we are just pieces of dust as we observed the holy week in Cutud, San Fernando and witnessed actual crucifixion rites. You made me shed a tear by watching that priceless sunset in Basco. You made me believe that we will always have a chance to start a new beginning watching that dramatic sunrise in Baler. I’ve proven that not all old things are old-fashioned just like the Crisologo Street of Vigan. I was able to travel back in time. You’ve proven that heaven is really a place on earth when we were able to finally experience Batanes.
Because of you, my faith in the humanity has been restored through the little miracles we saw on the road. You were right that there is really hope for the humankind. That people can still be trusted as proven by the Honesty Store in Ivana. You made me see the resiliency of Filipinos on what happened in Bohol and in Tacloban. Oh, how can I ever forget those countless beautiful souls we met on the road that helped us in various ways, who showed us the direction to our destination, who gave us tips and tricks, who shared not just seats and merienda with us but most especially parts of their lives, their precious time and their touching stories.
I was able to know, not just you, but most especially myself. I was able to test my limits and what I am capable of. I became more independent, more open and flexible to the inevitable changes happening in our lives. I was able to always look for the brighter side of the story.
I will always look back to that day when I finally said yes to you, a decision that made me see the world, experienced true education found in those rice fields and seashores, a decision to learn from life’s actual lessons, the decision to TRAVEL.
Today, I may not have found what I am looking for yet. I may not be complete yet. But this incompleteness keeps me hungry to visit more places, try new adventures, meet people of different views, see diverse perspectives and witness more miracles. To see more, to learn more, to be more, and never grow tired of seeking until I breathe my last.