Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Eat, Pray Love Indeed!

Ever since I was little, I was already interested in traveling. I guess, having relatives who have been around the world (except Antartica) can have its own quirks. I mean, personality- wise, I am someone who is quite rigid; someone who wants 'schedule' and 'structure.' Sometimes, I even begin to suspect that I have some mild form of separation anxiety. These traits of mine certainly wouldn't turn me into a good traveler. What I lack in attitude and skills though, I make up with enthusiasm.

With a twist of good fate though, I was exposed to a lot of places because of my cousin. She is an ardent wanderer. She's been to a lot of places. As I've mentioned before, she's been to most continents with the exception of Antartica. What's more amazing is that she only has to be in that place once and after that, she would talk about that certain location as if she's a local there already. That's something I admire in her! Just look at me, I can't remember the names of streets or hotels in Singapore though I've been there 5 times already. Worse, I don't even know how to cross the street, much less commute! But you know, if you're exposed to my cousin's company for quite some time, you'd eventually become excited whenever she talks about her travels and you'd soon forget the small things that make you anxious.

That's what happened to me. She brought me along with her to Mt. Pinatubo when I was only 8 years old. At that time, she only told me that we were going on a hike and as I was still young and filled with naivete, I willingly went with her. After 6 hours of climbing that accursed volcano though, I was thinking of jumping in the crater just to end my suffering. Strangely though, I felt quite happy even though my body was wracked with a lot of pain. After that, we went to several more travels in the Philippines. A tour around the Laguna area... Baguio....Ilocos....Banaue-Sagada- Bontoc...Kiangan... Romblon.... Boracay... Bohol... Palawan. As the years went by, I got used to traveling. And mind you, when I say 'travel,' it's the authentic kind of traveling that involves backpacks, hiking boots, tents and sleeping bags. We're used to the rugged kind of traveling as opposed to the luxurious type. I'm glad that this is the manner in which I grew up.

Over the years, I started having my dream destinations. When I was in grade 6, I earnestly wanted to go to Japan because I fell in love with their culture, not just anime as I'm sure a lot of people are thinking. Upon reaching high school, however, I soon wanted to go to Egypt with all its magnificent ancient structures and mummification procedures. I knew that I couldn't just go to these places without having done something good. Unconsciously, I guess this is the reason why I wanted to excel in school so that I can show my family that I am worth spending a lot of money on just to reach these places. 

Recently though, I soon learned that I was just not meant to go to these places, or any other. Back in November, I already told my parents that I have the desire to go to Egypt. They already agreed to it... But then, this year, Egypt suffered from some political issues that involved some violent repercussions. Because of this predicament, I knew that I wouldn't be able to go there... The second option is Japan. If  Egypt suffered from political warfare, Japan suffered from natural disasters-- Earthquake and Tsunami. This automatically made me afraid so I did not even dare tell my parents that I wanted to go there.

Soon though, my cousin proposed that I go with her on her journey around Europe, with focus on Italy. Being an avid fan of European history, I accepted her offer quite easily. I soon forgot my woes of not being able to go to Egypt... But then, things happened. The Italian Embassy refused to give me entry into the state by not giving me a Schengen visa since I apparently had insufficient proof that I'd be coming back to the Philippines. I guess, being a fresh graduated aggravated the situation especially since Italy is known as the place where a lot of Filipinos do TNT (Tago-ng-tago; illegal migration or something like that...) Upon learning the refusal, I briefly felt sad. Predominantly, I felt numb. I guess, deep down, I was expecting it.

Before my cousin left for Europe though, she said that I should think of going to India. India is a diverse country with a rich heritage. Since my cousin knows that I am interested in culture, she knew that I'd accept thins offer. I do think that India is interesting, but I don't have enough enthusiasm for it as I do for Egypt and Europe. However, I AM considering the idea since I'm running short of time... I'm thinking of going there from April 20- May 6... .But, I'm losing hope. I don't know if its just coincidence that  all of these things-- Egypt's political warfare, Japan's earthquake and tsunami, my Schengen visa refusal--  had to happen this year when I finally graduated. I just get the feeling that I'm NOT supposed to travel because every time I plan my itinerary, something awful happens. I don't know if India is really 'calling' onto me, but I am now doing my research. 

If all else fails, I'd try to go to Bali.... Just like Liz in Eat, Pray, Love. Liz said that she wanted to go to Italy for 'nutrition,' to enjoy eating again. She went to India for prayer and meditation and in Bali, she went there to find true love... Other than the travel itinerary and having feelings of numbness, Liz and I don't have much in common. For instance, I don't need to learn how to enjoy eating; in fact, I'm having troubles controlling my appetite! Maybe, that's the reason why I was not given the chance to go to Italy? Haha. Anyway, we'll see. We have to finalize our plans by Friday... By that time, I'll know if I really should go to India. If not, maybe I can propose to go to Bali... In the end, I guess, I haven't lost hope yet. I just really want to travel and see the world! If there's a chance that I wouldn't be able to go anywhere this year because of lack of time (I need to travel BEFORE May 16), there's always next year to look forward to. But, I wouldn't lie and say that it's not frustrating for me because it IS. *sigh* =(



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