letters to my younger self

Places I’ve Wandered To This 2017

I started off 2017 clueless – I withdrew from using a planner. I guess I just want to let things unfold – even if that would mean that I would have a scattered brain all over the place, I didn’t want to plan everything out, that would spoil the surprise. And also, even if I was not able to put into writing everything that I’ve gone to this year, what I’ve felt and what I’ve done – I guess that’s the price I have to pay in not being organised with my thoughts. I wanted to, for once, feel what it’s like not keeping a planner or a diary or journal and just writing whenever I wanted to. I guess this plan might have backfired on me but at least, a lot less cringe-worthy notes I’m supposed to read and remember!

So there. 2017 is a travel year for me. Even if I didn’t really plan to. It ended up that way. I just kept on saying yeses to my friends who’d invite me to go travel (and I’ll admit some of these travels were already booked in 2016) and whenever I stayed at home I can’t keep the feeling of planning where to go next – even if my mind and body really wanted to sulk at home.

So here are where I’ve been to for the past year:

January: Potipot
Remembering Potipot feels like ages ago. This was supposed to be a year-ender trip for 2016 but apparently we were too busy to manage it in 2016 that’s why it was pushed back in early 2017. The first take-off for the year – the time we discovered we are already ‘titas’ that we just wanted to be comfortable. And this is also where I realised I am no longer scared of dogs because of my friend’s pet. It was a good trip – away from the city and workmates and together with long time friends.

March: Mt. Ulap
That time that I know this is not an event planned by me but half of our group is composed of my college friends, current workmates and previous workmates. It was a friendship goal when all of my friends would come to know each other. But what I realised during that trip is that it doesn’t matter if everything goes wrong as long as you have your most trustworthy friend, everything will be solved. And a good picture comes a long way. I thought I only had a few friends but this trip made me think that I’ve let many people in my life. Haha. No regrets there.

April: Ilocos
A family sort-of trip. Going to Ilocos is going back to my roots and I will always remember that going North feels like going home. It was supposed to be very hot that time but clouds kept forming wherever we went that it is cold or somehow raining but it didn’t hamper our activities.

May: Apo Reef
The long time planning Apo Reef finally materialises. And I am thankful I am part of this trip. It felt very very good to travel with a large group and special thanks to Tin who let us stay in their house. 🙂 Remembering it – it was somehow a gift, because April was bombarded with a lot of issues, problems, workloads and that shocking news. Then here comes the Apo Reef trip – what we all needed to refresh and to reset our mind and body. 🙂 It was really nice and I miss it – we had so much fun from the food, to wandering around, to swimming, to card games in the island – we’re not bored. 🙂 Darn, I miss this.

June: Puerto Galera
My unplanned birthday trip in Puerto Galera that was just somehow happened because of a wrong booking in Puerto Galera – where we travelled by land and sea just to sleep in the resort. The Mindoro island (both Occidental and Oriental) is so nice – province-like but untouched. Nothing beats being with your family on a trip even if your annoying sisters always bother you. I realised I still have a long way to go but the people who greeted me are the sweetest. Indeed it is not quantity but quality. 🙂 Also, nothing beats meeting your paboritong pinsan in Mindoro. 🙂 And then the Moana fever from your niece from cousin. 🙂 Still – how far I’ll go?

June: Puerto Princesa
Trip with friends and some I’ve known the longest. Though this is only a city tour and Dos Palmas stay it was nice. Also, what makes this special is the stories under the moon – we talked so much from afternoon to dusk to night – and remembering what happened for the past 10 years and where are we now. There are some people who you connect to in a short amount of time but there are some friends who were amazing because your friendship stood the test of time.

July: Kalanggaman
The time when I travelled with a group wherein I only know one person. One friend from PwC. Haha. And I got surprised. Lels. But that trip is good – we were backpacking across Leyte and that spur-of-the-moment thing where we crossed San Juanico Bridge on foot. I am able to conquer San Juanico Bridge (hoping for the SF Bridge and Tower Bridge next!) And we hoped to go in an island where there is no wi-fi however there is a lot of signal in Kalanggaman island! This is also the time I realised I am very blessed with my bosses, they let me have a vacation even if I was not yet done with my work. True work-life balance practice.

August: Indochina
Longest trip ever. Eight days. Away from our comfort zone and away from our country – how did we survive? My out-of-the-country trips were becoming better and better thanks to this trip. Although it is very very very hot- we managed and well, with little misunderstandings along the way and who could ever forget that time wherein we got lost on the first day? Or the Pad Thai? Or the majestic Angkor Wat? The sleeper bus that we slept soundly throughout the night not realising we were sleeping in a moving bus. So many wonderful things happened here and I’m not even talking about the food. Travelling feels so great even when we came back to work it still felt like travelling – my feet never stayed on the ground. 🙂

September: Buscalan
Where I made one of those life-changing decisions – to get inked. Simpler life and uncomplicated things rule here. I somehow wondered if I can live here but I guess no – my mind would always wander far like Moana. But still – CAR region is my favorite place – close to my heart and I don’t know why. Head on over to Buscalan when you want to find peace and simplicity and I’ll never forget the children there – living simply and I hope they’ll grow up inspired by their dreams and chase it. I guess that’s what my tattoo symbolises – that place, the children and how it would always feel a sanctuary and I hope I can do good not for myself but for the future generations – that they may be inspired just as how I am inspired by my heroes, by day-to-day happenings, by places I’ve been to, by ordinary people. I hope a person can feel so much just as how I feel. And put it into good use. God knows how I always wonder if I’m doing this right.

October: Puerto Galera
Part two. This time with my workmates. That time when it was raining heavily in Manila and I’m double-thinking if I would back-out. Thank goodness I did not because – it was fun. Even if I was not able to take a swim (’cause I got a tattoo – an open wound – which can’t get in contact with salt water, or any other water nonetheless), I was able to enjoy the moment, the sights and sceneries albeit it was my second time here this year. Also fun playing Uno and Monopoly with the team.

November: Kansai
I guess this is the cherry-on-top of a fantastic year for me? I have written a lot about my Japan trip, how I love it to bits, how it exceeded my over-the-top expectations, how it surprised me, how it was all fun and amusing, how I never thought I’d enjoy the company I’m with to the highest, how it gave me a fitting closure, how I’m still over the moon about it, how it made me discover places and people at the same time and myself also. I could go on a list and never finish. This is years-in-the-making also, since 2014? or 2015? And not with who I originally plan it with but here’s to the changes that we don’t anticipate but end up being greater though!

December: Potipot
Spent the last morning of 2017 in this island. We always come back. Here. 2017. Started in Potipot. And ended in Potipot. Year end beach trip. It’s not always the place that matters but the person you’re with.

There – my 2017 in places I’ve been to.

Different places, different persons, different journeys and discoveries. All I know is that I had scattered pieces of myself in these places and also picked up stories every once in a while. I can go back to the place but not to the time so from here on in – let’s make the most out of every place we are – whether beach, sea, mountains, even our workplace because somehow, when you’re not in that place anymore, no matter how you’re sick of it everyday, you’ll miss it.

I can’t thank God enough for all these – for the people I’m with, for safe travels, for learnings and discoveries. I am blessed to have travelled with those people in 2017, to go to those places and see things I thought I will not be able to see, to learn. I hope I will remember this in the future.

I am always afraid to forget – the good ones and the bad ones – I want to remember it all – even if sometimes the memories is cringe-worthy, it is part of who I’ve been, of who I am now. 🙂 Travelling is indeed wonderful and amusing. I now understand them. 🙂

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