Saturday, September 23, 2017

So you just came back home after 17 months of travelling, now what?

Recently, I bumped into a college mate who couldn’t hide his surprise after finding out I was back from trip.


That’s right guys, I’m back. 

In fact, I've been back home for four months now. There were people who couldn’t feign their surprise whenever I quipped “I’ve been back since May!” to their “nasaang lupalop ka na ba ng mundo?” questions.

All this confusion could mainly be attributed to the fact that I didn’t Facebook announce our return (that's right, it ain't official unless it's Facebook official lol). JC and I told only a handful of people, not that everyone needed to know right?

How has it been so far?

Before landing in Manila, I’ve somewhat already went through the homecoming jitters and emotions when I landed in Bangkok last March. That’s how much I’ve missed Asia. Asia was home.

Truth be told, I didn’t miss Philippines. 

YES I missed my friends, I missed Jollibee (Philippine food scene in general), and the warm ocean. I could totally end my list there. If I had my way, I wouldn’t come back at all but we were so broke I begrudgingly agreed. JC and I needed to find work so we could pay our debts, basically pull our shits together so we could deal with our next plan of running away again. Hee.



Since we came back I confirmed the following:


  1. Everything is still exactly how we’ve left it. Sure, some friends got married, nieces and nephews got bigger/taller, dogs a little older but traffic is still terrible, wifi is still ridiculously slow and unreliable, most government offices and officials are still dubious and/or corrupt. 
  2. The good thing about #1 is that it also applies to people. My closest friends are still awesome and they still love me. Conversations were picked up like I've never left at all.
  3. Somehow, I've changed. Too many things have happened while we were away. I discovered the good, the bad, and unfortunately, the ugly in me.


First order of business upon arrival in Manila: Jollibee!
First order of business upon arrival: Jollibee!

Glad to have made it to our friends' wedding after missing two good friends' weddings huhu.


Here's how JC and I spent the three months we've been unemployed:
  • Fattening ourselves. Imagine this: we ate rice THRICE a day! His mum's fault.
  • But that's only because JC's grandparents have been living in their place - where we are also staying (they came here to the city while we were gone) - so whatever they are being fed, we are fed that, too.
  • Helping out JC's mum taking care of the senior citizens and goodness it WASN'T easy. It was a struggle mostly because the patient is a huge pain in the butt I am not even kidding huhu.
  • We saw mostly hospitals, groceries, UP ( 3 times if I am not mistaken), and SM North. We have our routes and schedules.
  • Sleeping. A lot.
Friends I met the days following our arrival in Manila.



Family duties. Taking care of senior citizens fam and having fun while at it.

While all these things were happening, more importantly I was also worrying about landing a job. I mean, what job can I take? Who will take me? Gaaad how I worried.

In mid-July, an opportunity by way of a former colleague (and friend) landed on my lap and Lord knows I grabbed it by its neck and never let go. After a month of interviews, going back and forth Taguig on odd hours, I'm happy to report that I made it and am no longer a pabigat in this household and country haha.

Taguig may be a long way from QC but I love my new job and its perks (technically I am still not doing the job but base from what I have been seeing and hearing, I can feel it isn't gonna be difficult to love this job. I'll tell you if it turns out to be a dud). I'm excited at the promise of getting paid every 15 days (bwahaha), of the coming months, the new adventures slowly taking shape because I am once again employed.


The long and short of it

It's hard to come back to reality after living a nomadic life for 17 months. We had no rules, no fixed schedules, no hard expectations. We lived by the moments and appreciated every little details. Which is - no offense to anyone - not understood by many. Why go through all that? Why quit a nice job only to go broke? Too many whys.

I understand that not everyone will comprehend why we did what we did—it's not for everyone. I don't go around telling everyone how easy and fun a life it was because, spoiler alert, IT WASN'T EASY AND FUN ALL THE TIME. It was a culmination of years of settings goals, visualisation, and  hard work. But I LOVED every bit of it, the great, the meh, and the horrible days. I have zero regrets about it. The key is to be ready for anything and everything.

Not everyone might share my unconventional decisions in life but I find comfort in the thought that somewhere out there, there are those who wouldn't dare ask the whys, instead will have that same gleam in their eyes all the while squealing "SAME!", a look that every long-term travelers seem to share.


Torres del Paine, Chile
I dreamed of Patagonia. A view of Torres del Paine's famous three peaks after 3 hours of uphill climbing.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hello, She's Still Alive

Well this is an embarrassment. How did it take me 9 months to update this space? I am the worst.

Believe me when I say I have plenty of things in my head I want to convey into words and hopefully get posted in here but laziness always gets in the way. That and my unfailing self-doubt when it comes to writing.

Brb drafting something now.




Sunday, January 01, 2017

It has been great, 2016!

My 2016 takeaways: 
  1. Save a LOT of money before you quit your job to travel long-term. 
  2. Go quit your job if you have said money. 
  3. If you've run out of money, the universe will provide. Let me tell you a secret. We've run out of money a couple of months back already. We've done all kinds of pagtitipid there is in pagtitipid book but our money can only be stretched a few ways. The last time I had serious debt issue was between 2005 - 2007, my destitute years back in college. I make it a point to pay my debts or have none at all. Now, truth be told, I am neck-deep in debt šŸ˜­šŸ˜­šŸ˜­. I am not proud of it but I don't regret it either. I only regret not saving more. 
  4. In relation to #3: do not be afraid to ask for help. You'll be surprised on who ends up helping you. More often than not, they are NOT one of your closest friends or kin. But they believe in your cause and will not hesitate to offer their help. You will cry a lot because where did these people come from and why do they care whether you realise your dreams or not.
  5. Thank those people. 
  6. No matter how expensive stamps are, send postcards to your dearest friends/family (I'm sorry that you will have to choose among them šŸ˜†). You can always eat curry rice every day. Which leads me to the next.
  7. Always bring curry powder. Or instant soups. They are life savers!
  8. Not everyone will be kind/honest/helpful. Be kind/honest/helpful anyway.
  9. No matter how crap your Spanish (or whatever language you are learning) is, someone will always tell you your Spanish is great. It may not be true but they appreciate your effort to communicate with them (PS: Parisians scoff at non-French speakers but if you try with your halting French, they'll answer your queries and like you a little for trying but that's the Parisians, South Americans are a lot warmer and nicer hehe). 
  10. Surround yourself with great support group. Be a great support system to your friends, too, even while travelling.
  11. Please leave tips for hotel/lodge staff. I mean if you can afford a 4- or 5-star hotel/lodge, I bet you can afford to dole out tips. Since I've been working as a kitchen help/waitress/hotelkeeper (??!!) for 3 weeks now (4 more weeks to go! šŸ˜©), I now have a better understanding of the hardships that entail these professions. The owners don't always give extras (or the tips itself) to their staff—who work unbelievably long hours— so PLEASE, it's better if you hand them the tip directly. 

New Year's Eve 2016, I was being served food and alcohol by other people. New Year's Eve 2017, I am doing the exact opposite. What a reversal of role. Bilog nga talaga ang mundo. 

I know 2016 did not really go well for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons, but mine has been awesome. It wasn't always rainbows and dragonflies (šŸ™ƒ) but really, it has been the best year of my life yet. I thought 2014 couldn't be topped but then 2016 happened so moral of the story: malay mo mas best pa pala ang 2017 šŸ˜¬

Feliz aƱo nuevo! Bienvenido, 2017!