Monthly Archives: January, 2016

Beneath My Travel Backpack


(29th December 2015)

While many in the world are counting what’s left of the hours for 2015, I was busy scouring for cheap flights to whichever visa-free or visa on arrival destinations there are to spend a few days of my 10-day Christmas break. Unfortunately, with only a travel budget of AED 1,000 in my excel sheet (uh, spare my wedding funds!), no matter how hard I try, refreshing FlyDubai’s page every waking hour, I had to accept, sadly, I couldn’t afford to fly this time.

Be that as it may and a 3-day house arrest after Christmas, I booked my hotel, packed my bags, brought out my walking boots, charged my Niko, picked up my book, bought my bus ticket and journeyed up to where the mountains meet the sea—Fujairah!

I am indeed a stubborn child. My happy feet just couldn’t stay put.

For this time though, my travel is about having my ME-time. My brain’s all over the place, I need to run away and find that solitude to calm my spirit. I need my ME-time. Selfish? Maybe, and I don’t expect everyone to understand, but like many times in the past, this zaps me back to my sanity, this enables me to better understand every situation that has come to pass and use that understanding to face the unknown future and most importantly, be a better person to the people who matter most to me…the people who love me so dearly even in my oddest state.

Many might say I am lucky to have been jet-setting for a while now. Probably stirring some to question how much my monthly paycheck is to afford such travels. It’s not hefty. It is enough to pay my bills, share something back home and travel. Savings you say? Last time I checked my bank book, the figures are the same since I left home to try my luck in Dubai the second time around. Shopping? Hmmm, the level of my work & leisure clothes versus my home clothes is still relatively low…while many were busy shopping, I was deep into my budget spreadsheet. I’m quite happy growing my ref magnet and flag collections though.

Eight countries this year including of course, home- The Philippines and my host country- The United Arab Emirates. I am not bragging. I simply would like to express how God has been blessing my life big time. It is a testament of His Greatness, turning the unthinkable possible! He first blessed me with the nicest and sweetest man to whom I am now engaged, He gave me a goob job in a wonderful company and He filled my travel fund jar enough to afford it. I still don’t know what I have done to deserve this but I am truly grateful.

Happy. Blessed. Grateful. I TRULY AM!

(30th December 2015)

While I am that, however, a part of me is scarred, crying, in fear. I couldn’t help but ask God why is it that while He is blessing my life abundantly, the people I love go through unfortunate situations one after the other and all happening either before my travel or while I am on travel. Coincidence? Maybe. But except for my travel back home for my sister’s wedding, each of the travels I had had been one of excitement, fun and at the same time sadness and worry. Each time I head to bed after a day of adventure and fun, I lay awake wondering how my dad is, my sister is, my brother is, my fiance’ is, my nephew is? Not even this very trip was spared. While I was out and about this afternoon, excited to share on our siblings’ chat group what I have happily captured on my tab, they’ve shared a photo of one of my brothers and his wife in the hospital both with drips! Again a coincidence?

Travelling the world has always been something I wanted to do. I still do, but with what has been happening, I have now developed a fear not on travelling per se but on me travelling. Even the very thought of planning where to go next scares me now. It scares me to think what could or might go wrong to the people that I love. I have become paranoid.

(31st December 2015)

I woke up this morning at 8:25, sigh, my vacation is coming to an end. Have I fulfilled the purpose of my being here, I thought. I could still feel sadness creeping within me and my questions are still there. I pulled my tab and messaged my fiance’…

“Hayst, my vacation is coming to an end. I have come to love the goodness of sleeping through a quiet night and waking up to a nice and quiet morning! How I wish I could afford to stay longer, be in a place where I could pour my heart out, find healing and be at peace even for just a while. I haven’t found answers to all my questions and soon they’ll be amongst my daily dose of stress as I return to my usual routine of work-traffic-home-chores. But I am thankful for this brief moment to grieve, to cry buckets, to question incessantly, to pour my heart out to Him, to let out what’s deep within. Silence was His answer to my questions and rants. He was listening intently I know. I have unloaded loads even to you. Have I satisfied the reasons of my being here? Maybe. And in the uncertainties of my future, all I could hope and pray for is a new year of good health, protection and safety, more love, stronger faith and Godly wisdom to understand, for all my loved ones. I hope and pray for wonderful, meaningful and safe travels, no matter how small or big they are. I hope and pray for a wonderful and meaningful wedding and a married life full of love, imperfect yet meaningful. I hope and pray for a fruitful career for both of us, that may we be blessings in our workplace as much as the workplace is to us.”

I said goodbye to 1314, my silent sanctuary for the last 2 days at Millenium Hotel and hopped on the bus back to Dubai, the mountains faded into the distance as sand dunes take on the scenery, light brown on the left side of the road and orange on the right. I saw one camel atop the orange dune, ahh, that could have been one nice shot!

As I sit on my bed, in the comforts of my room, few hours to the new year, I still feel odd but hopeful and keeping the faith. Hard, of course, but at the end of the day, He is in full control. It reminds me of my oldest brother’s response when I suggested performing a “baki” (an Ifugao ritual), where he said, “It is prayers that we need to strengthen, that is what I think we need!”

Hence I go back to my message this morning and YES, those are my hopes and prayers for the New Year, for my loved ones, for our workplaces and for myself.

May your lives be blessed this New Year and beyond, as well!

And as always, I say,  No Matter What Gets On The Way, Follow Your Heart, Keep The Faith and Travel Light!