When you have my name, you are bound to elicit different reactions from people who are hearing your name for the first time. Believe me, I had all of them – from mockery to disbelief to sheer amusement. But I do not complain.
I love my name. I appreciate how it actually serves as a good conversation starter when I meet new people or I travel with strangers. Some comment that it sounds like a screen name or an interesting pseudonym. People recognize me easily because of my name.
Well, there are also downsides to it. My teachers back in college would often call out my name in class when no one wanted to recite anymore because I suspected it was easy to memorize my name. Other times, I’d get email correspondences addressing me as a Miss. These are, of course, just minor complaints.
The origin of my name has two versions. I asked my father about my name as a requirement for my class back in high school and he told me that he got it from the name of a famous lady judge during Marcos regime: Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, then Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court. My research also shows that she was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court.
Years later, I also asked my mother about the etymology of my name and she told me she was inspired by America and that when she was still pregnant with me, she was certain I’d one day set foot in America. Well, it has not happened yet and I didn’t turn out to be a lawyer as my father could have wanted me to be, but we’ll never know, right? 🙂
I believe that there is power in naming people, places, situations, and our experiences. Communication studies reveal that language is highly important in our understanding of our experiences and how we make sense of objects around us. Okay, I don’t want to sound nerdy or academic here so I’d rather explain why I decided to name my site (and my alter-ego) Juanderkid.
So, why Juanderkid? There is, of course, an allusion to super heroes here or, at least, that wanting to create a branding or image that shows someone has that super power to conquer the world. No mater how odd the situations are, a Juanderkid passionately overcomes these as he journeys from one destination to another.
Also, there’s a pun on the words “wonder” and “wander” here, two elements that make traveling exciting and surprising.
The use of the word kid suggests youthfulness, enthusiasm, and energy. It brings to life an image of a person who is carefree and who has extreme fun under the sun.
But beyond this, I deliberately thought of a name that captures the amazement of a kid and the essence of being a kid because that is my personal mantra when it comes to traveling: never lose the kid in us as we discover things, conquer new lands and experience amazing adventures.
The name also has a strong Filipino flavor, the word Juan being the national personification of our country. It talks about journeys around the Philippines and encourages fellow Filipinos to discover the wealth of beauty that abounds in our country. I believe that I love my country to a fault, but I will discuss this some other time.
But there’s a more personal reason why I came up with this name. My grandfather, on my father’s side, was named Juan.
He didn’t live long enough to witness this site but he was a strong influence to the kind of person I have become. I believe I was one of his most favorite grandsons. He took pride in all of my achievements as a young kid and I remember him telling me I’d one day become the country’s president.
I dedicate this site to him because when I was young and he was strong enough for morning walks, he’d encourage me to go out of our small town when I grow up and see what the world has to offer. He would point to Mt. Mayon from afar and he’d tell me that one day I will not just climb Mayon but conquer the world as well.
This encouragement he strongly instilled in me even when he never experienced the gift of traveling.
My Lolo was born to a poor family and grew up in a poor environment. He had to work early on as a child to help his parents make both ends meet. He worked harder when he had his own family and had to raise his eleven children. As a carpenter in his young days, he’d travel from one place to another, where work took him.
I remember him in all of my travels.
Juanderkid is an extension of myself and I make sure that my personality is reflected here – in every post that I make, in every photograph that I post.
The header that I am using in this site encompasses most of the things that help make my travels thrilling: the pashmina that my best friend F gave me when she first came home after years of working in Dubai (J); the pair of Havaianas slipper and star fish ref magnet that I got in Boracay (U); a fedora, which is my travel must-have, and the bead bracelets I have collected through the years (A); my passport and a part of my collection of chopsticks from my travels around Asia (N); the textile bag I bought in Luang Prabang, my lighthouse collection, and the book a friend gave me (D); a pair of sunnies and some of the ref magnets I collect as souvenirs (E); pens and bottles of sunscreen and sunblock (R); my favorite cargo pants and messenger bag (K); my red sneakers (I); and the headdress that I used in one of our Christmas parties that celebrated Pinoy fiesta (D).
It has been an amazing year for Juanderkid and I hope to continue discovering my passions and living my dreams. Join me in my travels as we discover a part of our selves we never knew existed.
Love and light, everyone. Go, juanderlust! 😀