I am restless. I don’t know if I am just making a big deal out of turning 30 soon but I know of people who probably went through what I am going through now when they also turned 27, or 28, when, one day, they woke up realizing their zest for life went missing.
I have been feasting on an emotional buffet since 2011 started. But after having dinner tonight in a mall which has a great view of Manila’s biggest Christmas tree when the season calls for its appearance, it suddenly dawned on me that this battle with aging actually started one December evening in 2010. While also having dinner at the same restaurant and gawking at the humungous tree, I felt nothing. Even when the lights that were wrapped around that tree were happily blinking, I felt an emptiness that was so alien to me, I got rattled.
And then I stumbled upon this note that I posted on Facebook in March last year.
Runaway (March 23, 2011 – 11:48 am)
I should be in Singapore now to jumpstart the Asian tour I had planned with a friend since October last year. But just like all the other travels I had lined-up for the first quarter of this year to which my electronic tickets never saw print (El Nido, Roxas-Iloilo, Cebu-Bohol, CDO, Camarines Norte, Gen. San, even Baguio), I am locking up in my room now just marveling at the travel photographs I’ve collected all these years. I couldn’t help but wonder, “What happened to me?”
It has almost been three months since I woke up and realized that the gypsy in me had run away. He was no longer to be found beside me, he has eluded me. He didn’t even tell me he was leaving. Not that a single memory of premonition or warning could have prepared me for it. It was just really unthinkable that he would do that given how we immensely enjoyed the magic and funny heartbreaks of traveling last year. If he’s gone for good, I have no idea. But I hope he reads this because my heart secretly yearns he finds his way back to me soon.
I used to have this zest for traveling, this passion for discovering new things, exploring the unknown, pushing myself to the limit. I derive pleasure from knowing that even when I do not understand a single word from the Vietnamese lady who takes my order for the night or I get lost in a colorful sea of people or in a maze of mangroves, I discover a part of myself I never knew existed. In each and every travel, I come back to the city poorer, but wiser. I am a changed person who delights in the discovery of a new strength and laughs at the realization of a lame, stupid mistake.
I miss that part of myself that is carefree and daredevil. I want to remember the feeling of eagerly riding a banca even when in reality I could die of a heart attack out of big, rough waves. I anticipate the day that my satiation for devouring cuisines that are foreign to my taste buds comes to life again. I long for conversations over cups of coffee and lemon pies after a day of trekking and spelunking. I miss the feeling of going home to a very down-to-earth hotel room to briefly rest my tired feet from walking all day only to get out of it the soonest I could just to walk around again.
I miss all of these yet I don’t feel the need now to pack my bags and just wander. Maybe I am being prepared for the new age bracket, my friend told me. Maybe. Maybe this is life’s way of teaching me to slow down, prioritize security and stability, nurture deeper connections with people I have forgotten about since I got too engrossed with the promises of traveling. Maybe traveling has taken on a different meaning now. And that’s what I need to discover.
Very soon, I will be out there again and I will come back with photographs that tell a different story. My gypsy had run away and I need to run after it before it becomes too late. I miss you. Come home soon.
Last year, I was supposed to celebrate my birthday in Batanes, but after an engine trouble that delayed our take off for more than six hours, I decided not to go on with the trip anymore. Once again, my world has gone berserk. How can I possibly let it happen? On my birthday? When I’ve been celebrating my birthday somewhere else consecutively for the last five years?
Traveling is one of those passions in life that suddenly lost its appeal when I entered that “aging loop.” When 2012 came and I felt that my love for traveling was around the corner again, I decided to finally come up with this blog. So I will be reminded of the things I so dearly love in this lifetime. So I can work on a dream that I feel I lost when I chanced upon an emotionally-satisfying profession. So life will take on a different, deeper meaning now.
Earlier today, before we went out to have dinner, I was busy making plans for my birthday. I want to travel. I want to make peace with the universe. I want to discover another part of myself that I never knew existed.
And yes, I guess I owe my self a life away from you. But no, I am not running away this time, I am just leaving you behind.
- El Nido: That Crazy Little Thing Called Love (ameramor.com)