“Music saves the soul.” Play softly while you read.
People think we are fearless. We are not afraid to wander to places we’ve never been; walking anonymously along the dusty road of a rural town and smile to people as if you’ve met a familiar face. We have all the fun in the world; we celebrate life with fellow travelers or locals but then we go home standing between sobriety and intoxication, then cuddle an old pillow while lying on our sides on a hotel room bed. What people don’t know is that, at that very moment we realise we are still alone. The next morning we pack our bags quietly with nobody to remind us about the shenanigans done last night and laugh at it all. We fix misfortunes and deal with misadventures all by ourselves, alone, figuring out how to be smart and brave every second of the day. We try so hard to be bold and to audaciously fight the loneliness of solitude because going solo is what we wanted in the first place anyways.
People think we are restless and wild. We keep on tapping one foot or bite our fingernails while impatiently wait for the bus, train or plane that will bring us to our new temporary home. We follow where the sun rises and sets. We follow where that little beam of light leads us, where the earth meets water and air meets fire. We peek through the tall grasses, allowing the sunshine of the golden hour lighten up our face, and we instantly decide that the path beyond the fields is the way to the wilderness. We are meant to head to a place where we think life-changing bliss exists. But what people don’t know is that there will be times we will be hitting the wrong road. Then our thoughts go back to that rule of thumb we know – bad decisions turn to precious lessons, and so we keep them coming.
People think our mothers and fathers complain that we are rarely home. That is the truth. Because we are hungry for the idea of waking up in the morning and opening the windows of our pads facing the beach with sky high coconut trees, or waiting for the sun to peer behind the lush green mountain rolls slightly covered with lake of clouds, or having a cup of coffee at the veranda so close to the picturesque limestone cliffs with birds gracefully flying around the top. For a night, we could stay in the train, at the airport, on a boat, in the car, and don’t mind how these “houses” actually cause us sleeplessness and discomfort. Our souls know that the journey itself is our abode, and sadly this is what most people just couldn’t understand. Constant movement makes our restless hearts still.
People think we are selfish because all we wanted is just to be free. We will stay in a land where we think a new family is found then leave in a snap after a couple of months or weeks. We let people fall in love with us and when we feel like saying the magical words that would make their hearts leap up to cloud nine, we take a step back and pack our bags. We just couldn’t stay, and they couldn’t cope up. And the universe knows that it pains us. What people don’t know is that we are selfless beings too. We keep all the friendly strangers we meet in our hearts as if the world is too small for us to ever meet them again. We fall in love with the littlest things, with as many things as possible. We desperately look for love too, but as we witness real human pain from different sides of the world, we get a deeper understanding of how much love we should be giving rather than taking.
We travel not only because we can. We travel to escape the society’s mindset of what reality is. Because traveling is the reality – it is the framework of real connection to people, culture and nature. And in the future, when we are old and not so able, we will sit on a belvedere while sipping a cup of tea, tell stories to the children of our children of how we courageously lived our dreams, and inspire the little ones to long for the very same emotions we have while living a life full of adventures and excitement brought by spontaneities and uncertainties.
Went to Banaue, Ifugao Philippines last February 2016 with my trusted pal, Jonald. He got sick though so I trekked the famous Batad Rice Terraces without him. We met two awesome solo female travelers just before the trek and the thought that such beautiful souls aren’t hard to find inspires me to be bolder and take roads less traveled alone.