When It Finally Sinks In

As I stroll through dusty lanes early this morning, it suddenly felt real. After the planning, the urgent moving, the changes and everything, I am, in the end, left alone.

Why has it hit me just now?

It just seems like yesterday when I first set foot in the company premises to attend the job interview. Time flies. Seven unbelievable, wonderful and enriching years have gone by and I am grateful to still be here. It’s just that I am left alone now. Everyone I worked with when we first opened the branch office has said goodbye. The last among them left today.

As it happens to everyone, we have tons of good times and some really bad times.  Things we think we should have been more involved with before or things we should have just ended at some point early on. I don’t really regret anything but I feel like I should have left the first time I wanted to. I would have been someone and somewhere else by now, who knows, and probably wouldn’t feel so alone today.

Perhaps there comes a time in every person’s life when it finally sinks in. To understand the subtle shift from an almost fantasy world to real life. I think I crossed that line today — I just no longer live in my own head now but in a very real new world.

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A Six-Word Story

All my choices seem wrong nowadays.

Some Lessons Learned From My Most Spontaneous Travel

I first started traveling one destination at a time where I make a research of what places to see, what things to do, what stuff to try, what foods to eat, etc. I usually spend almost a month in one country exploring its different provinces. Then I tried dividing my vacation days to two countries. It was better. My most recent vacation though was something I didn’t really have time to plan about. My vacation was cancelled a few times the last two years and I almost have given up thinking about it. When schedules were finalized and I can really go on leave, I wasn’t sure where to go. First Jordan. Then Qatar and Jordan. Then Qatar and Georgia. Or just Georgia. I ended up traveling to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Qatar and Jordan.

Among my main goals while traveling are to indulge myself in alcohol and suffice my palate with dishes I have never tried before and eat every pork dishes available in the place. 😅 (I’ve been living in Kuwait for the past nine years and a half, alcohol and pork are prohibited here.) And over the years, I’ve learned that one of the best things about travel is not merely about the places you’d be visiting or the food you get to taste the first time but the things you learn while traveling. Of course I can only speak for myself and so as far as I’m concerned, traveling has taught me a lot of things about people, culture, tradition, food, places, history and life in general. It also has taught me a lot of things about myself.

Most of my travels in the Philippines were spontaneous ones. I get to go to provinces three hours or more away from my hometown with just an hour notice. When I started traveling to other countries though, I had to research and make a list of things to do, places to go to, where to stay, etc. It was okay at first but following a certain schedule while traveling makes me feel my options are limited. I felt like I’m not getting the most of it so I went back to traveling without having everything planned. Today, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned from my most spontaneous vacation.

Decisions.

It’s very important to be very flexible with your plans so when forced to make last minute decisions, it won’t turn out so bad. Even the most indecisive person can change and learn how to make spontaneous decisions while traveling. Your plans could totally change but roll with the changes and discover other ways to enjoy.

You need not be multilingual.

While knowing a second (or more) language can really be very helpful while on the road, I have never been trapped in a situation where I badly needed to have known one. It’s sometimes embarrassing that the people I meet are bilingual but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying their company. And I was never in trouble for knowing just one.

Strangers can be the best guide books and they can be the best of friends you’ll ever meet.

While there are a lot of ways that could be of help when traveling alone like Google maps and stuff, strangers can still be the best guide books ever. I once asked a stranger how to go to this particular restaurant that serves traditional dishes while in Vietnam. He helped me find the place but suggested an even better place! And when I visited the place he recommended, I’ve met several other people there as well, a few of the best people I’ve met while traveling. Every stranger I’ve met has lead me from one place to another and each place was definitely a worthwhile experience.

Unplanned travel escapades are where the fondest of memories are.

I’ve always find spontaneity a lot more rewarding than a carefully planned life. Since I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 18, almost everything that happened in my life were unplanned. Same thing when I travel. The many instances where I wasn’t prepared during the trip turned out to be the best and where the fondest of memories were made. I’m not a big fan of surprises but I am always amazed where my love for spontaneity leads me. Unplanned escapades are usually short but in my experience, it’s never short of thrill and excitement! These memories are the ones I relive again and again. It never fades. The memory of each unplanned adventure never gets old.

It’s not always about where you go. It’s also about the people you’re with and things you do together wherever it leads you to.

No matter where I go to when I travel, one thing happens for sure, even if I don’t initially notice it, I come back a better person than who I was when I left. I gain more positivity and courage so thanks to the people I meet along the way. Every person I meet is unique and has something to offer which adds to the excitement. Never in my life have I thought of going on an escapade with marijuana smokers and learning a lot about life from them. Turns out, they’re a few of the kindest of people I’ve met.

It’s okay if things go wrong.

My parents, my mom specially, raised my brothers and I to always follow the rules. If we follow the rules, nothing could go wrong she said. Sure, generally she’s right but following the rules all the time is not fun. Following what the guide books say, it leaves us with little chance for spontaneity. It limits us from appreciating the beauty of the unexpected. When things don’t go according to plan, be okay with it. More often than not, it leads to better and more exciting adventures.

Inform your bank.

It is important to inform your bank about your travels because during my recent trip, they put my card on hold because of suspicious transactions. Know that when your bank notices something unusual on your transactions, they have the right to put it on hold. For my bank, there’s an option when you log-in online where you can inform the bank of your travel dates so they wouldn’t suspect your future transactions. It’ll be hell to have no money while in a foreign country so consider this.

Overpacking sucks.

This is a serious pain in the ass. For years, packing my things is what my travel nightmares are made of, I’ve never learned to travel light until my most recent escapade. Having to travel from one country to another at a very short notice, I had to ask my then still stranger travel buddy to pack my stuff for me. My packing skills are seriously awful. It’s amazing to see her how to do it and yeah, I definitely learned a lot from her. It’s not easy travelling from one place to another with large suitcases.

Appreciate and surrender to the moment.

Of course it’s nice to take photos of almost everything beautiful and interesting when you travel — the tourist spots, the food you’ve tasted the first time, the views, etc. — but sometimes, we forget to appreciate these things as it is because we’re busy taking photos for Instagram. During my recent travel, I wasn’t as prepared as I usually am — phone, camera, extra batteries, chargers, etc. — but I also get to appreciate everything more and I get to see and explore hidden gems because my phone was dead. I was left to explore the streets not knowing where it’ll lead me. Surrendering to the moment made the trip so much more exciting, interesting, educating, fun and special.

Life is so damn good.

Sometimes we forget to be grateful how fortunate we actually are. As I grow older, I become more grateful for being alive and having the chance to travel from time to time. Life is good. I know we all have times when we feel like life is so unfair but life is good, homo sapiens. Life is so damn good.

Quote of the Week

This is an important lesson to remember when you’re having a bad day, a bad month, or a shitty year. Things will change: you won’t feel this way forever. And anyway, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs most. I believe you can’t feel real joy unless you’ve felt heartache. You can’t have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can’t know what it’s like to feel holy until you know what it’s like to feel really fucking evil. And you can’t be birthed again until you’ve died.

-Kelly Cutrone

Sunshine Blogger Award #8

images (1)As usual, I’m so very late for this again. But wow! Thanks a lot, Paragtak! Know that I am delighted about this and I appreciate it so much. You can visit his blog here.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging sites.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  4. Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  5. List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo on your site or on your post.

Now I get to choose and answer 10 questions so read on:

1. One dream you can never forget?

Staring at myself inside a coffin.

2. What is your favorite word?

Darling.

3. What’s your favorite food?

I like most foods but my current favorite, buttered chicken and butter nan.

4. If you were given a chance to meet three blogging friends, who and why?

I’d love to meet all my followers and those I follow but if I get to choose three for now, I’d love to meet:

  1. Chuck – https://thereluctantpoetweb.wordpress.com/ – the sweetest and truest friend I’ve met on WP.
  2. Richa – http://iscriblr.com/ – she’s so full of positivity.
  3. Ana – https://momlifewithchiari.com/ – I think she can be one great friend.

5. Who is your favorite blogger?

I don’t have a favorite. I follow different bloggers for different reasons.

6. Most adventurous thing I’ve done?

Hmmm… a lot but one of the most recent one is going cross countries with people whom I never knew the names until we’ve landed to the first destination.

7. Have you ever tried to impress someone but failed miserably?

No. I don’t think I have to impress anyone or anybody…

8. One thing that you never ever wanna do?

I never ever wanna stop traveling.

9. One animal I’m most afraid of?

Spiders.

10. How much do you enjoy blogging?

It’s more of how much I enjoy reading other blog posts, you know! Sometimes I read something that really cracks me up, sometimes I get to read something really sad. So I enjoy reading blogs because of the feeling I get when I read them and the lessons or new things I learn from them.

My nominees are:

https://revengeofeveforeveranonymous.wordpress.com/

https://sohelitasnim.wordpress.com/

https://inspirechange27.wordpress.com/

https://thoughtfulhues.wordpress.com/

https://thinkingclearly483645316.wordpress.com/

https://fromakshayasmind.wordpress.com/

https://beutiflee.wordpress.com/

https://lauraroettigerbooks.com/ 

https://fightmsdaily.com/

https://chechewinnie.wordpress.com/

https://realisticbeginner.wordpress.com/

My questions for the nominees are:

1. What were you really into when you were a kid?

2. What’s the most useful thing you own?

3. Who in your life brings you the most joy?

4. What’s the most beautiful place near your house?

5. One thing you bring with you everywhere you go.

6. Has anyone ever saved your life?

7. What are you best at?

8. Suggest one book you think I should read.

9. Suggest one movie or series you think I should watch.

10. What’s your all-time favorite song?

11. What is the most useful app on your phone?

There you go! Sorry again, Paragtak for doing this too late and thank you once again! 🙂

I hope the nominees have the time to do this, I’m so looking forward to your answers!

Have a very wonderful day, homo sapiens! 🙂

A Six-Word Story

Come closer.

Stay away.

You choose.

Quote of the Week

It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.

-Anthony Burgess