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.

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