WHAT’S MY STORY?

Every traveler we’ve met, every travel blog we’ve read may say similar things of why traveling is essential.

My words become repetitive. My words are spatial, sometimes not of this earth. They fly, and sometimes people only see them from afar, glimpses of a silhouette that struggles to spread intimate truths. I tell myself, a few others too, that I am not a good story teller. But am I not really? Or am I just enveloped in shyness and fear? Do I remain a silhouette? Or do I show up to the world?

Courage, have the courage to be happy. A trip to Seoul opened its vibrant entry sign almost four years ago. The autumn weather seeped into the skin and the foreign surroundings penetrated into the eyes of three first-timers. More than that, friendship with travelers alike stirred our young souls. The silhouette had seen and had been seen. As we were strolling together the narrow pavements of Itaewon, an Australian guy from the hostel asked for my name and the reason for choosing South Korea as my first venture abroad. My “lightness” got busted in a second. Because really, it wasn’t on my list and I never imagined it to be. I was just there because I wanted to explore places. And we did. We walked around temples in Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung and Bukchon Hanok Village, satisfied our adrenaline rush in Lotte World, indulged in caffeine, cosmetics, and kimchi and everything spicy in Myeongdong and Dongdaemun, got enlightened in the borderline tour of North and South Korea, biked blissfully around Nami Island, admired the night view from N Seoul Tower, laughed our hearts out in between subway rides and soju shots, danced our hearts out in Gangnam and Hongdae.

But it turned up to be more than mere exploration for it transcended into understanding of all sorts.

The things I hold dearly, hesitant on revealing them to others, this guy happened to be a reflection of courage and eased into my being. What I thought was hideous, he brought into spotlight for all, but most especially, for me to see. Such phenomenon led me into acceptance, that it’s all okay, very much okay and lovely to blossom.

After returning from our trip, we invited our Australian friends to visit the Philippines. Wow, so this was what separation anxiety felt like. We can’t help but miss each other’s company and so we kept in touch everyday and exchanged stories of our busy lives away from one another. Finally, plans were made and one of them came through. The four of us headed to Sagada in the Mountain Province. The trip to the mountains peeled away our deepest individualities. Long walks and deep talks were never the same again. As friendship got deeper, my feelings got confused. I climbed to heights that made me intensely desire to chase the guy when he left for Singapore to continue his travels. However certain circumstances held my chase back and the confession poured in a Facebook message instead. Sorrow bloomed and happiness bled at the same time. This trip and this person made me more alive than ever. I am born once more.

All senses awakened in the body and opened in the soul an inexplicable kind of appreciation. It has this immortal circulation, so it must be true love. No, it didn’t start with romance.

It started with love for oneself, expanding into knowing how to love and understand everything and everyone this mysterious world contains.

Mandalay, Myanmar
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Bagan, Myanmar

The dots of stories are continuously sketching to form a line of changing horizons and evolving human beings and burning passions. During a trip to Myanmar last April two years ago, I arrived at another discovery, eased into another reflection. I was deeply immersed in a conversation with a German guy in the balcony of a hostel in Yangon. I was sharing to him a book I’ve recently read and loved, A Temple of my Familiar by Alice Walker. He asked me to narrate what it is about, and I responded automatically that I am not a good story teller. He simply reminded me of our topic (Law of Attraction) earlier and in that instant, I was awakened to the possibility of telling stories that at first I deemed as a weakness. And while under the magical spell of Pai during a trip to Thailand three years ago, another discovery, another reflection showed something glimmering. In the middle of a conversation in a reggae bar, I asked someone, “So do you think you know the formula for happiness?” He easily answered a yes and elaborated that amidst uncertainties in life, we must always go back to the things we love to do.

The following year after the trip from Seoul up until now, I plunged unstoppably into a nomadic lifestyle with the travel buddies who started with me and set out to visit places and meet people that will leave me poetically in awe of the world. The journey shapes into moments, turns into memories, and transcends into a lifestyle so that my pursuit of traveling has become intimate and valued deeply than before. I am currently working in the city during weekdays and journeying across lands and seas in the weekends, sometimes plotting and negotiating leaves and holidays in between. The circulation of wanderlust expresses while staring at the postcard in front of my cozy cubicle and systematizing French healthcare data in the office. Sometimes it aches to be wildly in love with traveling, but I learned along the journey to embrace its ups and downs. In the end, lessons flowed profusely and manifested themselves in contemplative nights under the starry sky.

My movement towards different destinations led leads to movement within me.

As I create intersections, as I cover the wild spaces, I want to be part of something larger than life and let it teach me beyond bounds and beliefs. In turn, I want to contribute my presence to something larger than life by communicating how wholly wonderful and connected we all are, by letting awesomeness manifest in all places of the world because it is in fact flowing everywhere, and by reflecting the abundances of nature through writing and photography.

At this moment in my life, I am learning to displace myself from the silhouette, to show up to the world as the sun rises and let go as it sets each day. I am learning to sing with my most intimate voice, and sing with your voices too. With this kind of sharing, I hope that the melodies of the most intimate will be heard and sung together into the universal voice.

Siquijor, Philippines

When we see a painting that we love, we’re not standing there thinking about the artist who made it — we’re thinking about how that painting makes us feel, what that reflects to us about our lives and the world. And so I love when love exceeds … its creator, which is the whole goal of art…; when it becomes not about the person who created it, but about the people who consume it… –Cheryl Strayed

To the beautiful soul who is reading, this is all for you. May you reach the destination journey of your dreams. Embrace this moment as magic hovers in the air we breathe. Your dreams are coming true! We are under the same moon after all. 😉

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