That one place

I was deep into making an Osaka-Kyoto itinerary the other day for our upcoming Japan trip this May when I realized that I was actually falling in like with the country during my research. I’ve always been curious about Japan, but I’m not one of those people who just really want to go there. I mean, sure, there was a time when I liked my share of anime, and I tried to learn some Japanese words, but those faded away, and I didn’t really put Japan in the places I really must go to.

Then my friends booked us a flight, and as with almost all my travels, I just went, Hey, why not? Let’s go. 

So there. I started planning an itinerary so we had options, and as I did my research, the excitement grew. I know nothing about the country except for what my friends who have been there told me, and as I read and read and read and figured out their train systems (I loooove trains) so we could get from one point to another, I started looking forward to it. So much that I was already thinking that I would probably go back, just so I could go and experience the other things we might miss.

And then I started thinking about how some people I know have that one place. You know, the one place they keep on going back to, the one place they would always visit and come back to. It doesn’t have to be another country — it could just be another province — but it’s their place. Their own place, the one that feels like home even if it’s so far away from their real home.

Then I wondered: where is my place?

Image from we heart it, edited by me, words from Kristen Hubbard's Wanderlove
Image from we heart it, edited by me, words from Kristen Hubbard’s Wanderlove

Sometimes it feels like I’m so late in the game, especially since I know of younger people who really pursue their passion to travel. It’s not that I’m really old, or that I didn’t travel when I was younger. I mean, if there’s any time that’s easier to travel, it’s now, with all the seat sales and travel blogs and such. It’s just that sometimes, I feel that maybe I should have started a few more years back — perhaps when I started at my first job or something like that. Which wasn’t really that feasible, now that I think about it, because I didn’t earn much back then. I only get to travel now because my job pays me well. I just wish that I could have been to other countries and places when I was 23, 24. That I was brave enough to go on my own, or that I could have dragged friends and family to go with me wherever back then.

But then again…it’s never too late, right?

Ramble, ramble. My point is, I want to have my place, too. That place where I would always go to, the one that feels like home even if I didn’t grow up there. The one I would always return to, and the one that would be my default place to travel whenever I feel the itch to go and still be amazed at the new things I discover despite the number of times I’ve been there. I want to have that.

I wonder where it is. That place. My place. Could it be in Japan? Could it be Thailand, or Cambodia? (Hello, October Indochina trip! Thank you, Cebu Pacific seat sale! :D) Australia? NYC, perhaps? (Haha, why not. :P) Or maybe it is in Europe? (Oh, I would go back in a heartbeat, if I can!)

Or maybe it’s just in the next province? Palawan? Batanes? Davao? Ilocos? Dumaguete?

Hmm. I guess the only way I’ll find out is if I go there. :)

For moreness

For moreness. My best friend coined this on the trip we took on the weekend before I turned 28, the one where I asked them to join me because as much as I enjoyed traveling on my own, I realized that I didn’t really want to spend the last few days of a wonderfully crazy year not surrounded by the people who have seen me through not just in last year but also the year before that. And the year before that. And the year…well, you get my drift.

So off we went to Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte with Travel Factor. For moreness.

From a sleepy bus ride to a choppy 2-hour boat ride that left none of us dry (and taught us an important lesson on waterproofing our things — don’t worry, my phone is still alive and safe from saltwater), the island welcomed us with this:

Long bus ride? Scary, choppy waves? Here, have a beach.

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Thank you, Singapore!

I’ve had this post in my drafts for a while now, but I got a bit lazy fixing it and almost trashed it. Then I read this new post in one of the blogs I discovered over the weekend, and I realized that I shouldn’t just let this post fade into oblivion because I’m busy. This is a personal milestone, a check off the bucket list! This should be written down!

So here we go. :)

* * *

The first time I went to Singapore was in 2007, when my dad had a conference and the entire family tagged along. My only mission I had for going there: buy a MacBook. Because, well…I needed a new laptop, then, so that was all what I wanted to do. (I was very gadget-centric back then.)

I did see a few things back then: Sentosa, Ikea in Tampines, and I also got to visit the Arts House to meet some of the NaNoWriMo participants in Singapore. I also got to roam around in Chinatown for a bit, but that was because that’s where we bought our first dSLR for my brother. But there’s not a lot of things I remember after that, because there weren’t many sights to see or places to go within that short span of time that I stayed there. Heck, Universal Studios Singapore wasn’t even there yet.

A few months ago, I was chatting with a friend about how I was feeling restless, and how I wanted to go somewhere. I want to pack up and leave. Go on a trip. There were no immediate trips to look forward to, and I needed something new. Something different. Something, oh, I don’t know, brave? I told my friend that I want to go somewhere, and she said, “Go.

Pretty much everyone who I talked to about this told me to go, what’s stopping me, and it should be fun, yadda yadda yadda.

But I’m not that impulsive. And where could I possibly go? I’m not sure if I can afford it. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Still, the idea of going somewhere on my own was very attractive. And I felt like I badly, really needed it. And I figured that if I want to go to New York City someday, I better start practicing now, right?

So I gathered the courage and asked some friends if I could crash at their place if I decide to book a ticket to Singapore. They said yes, and then I gathered more courage and booked a ticket. (Complete with trying to book my flight several times and finally taking a deep breath before clicking that button that confirms my flight.)

Ta-da! I’m going to Singapore!

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My Singapore trip, in a nutshell:

  1. Midnight arrival, and enjoying the internet speed at the airport. (It’s fast, my friends. Very fast. :D)

    Hello, Changi!
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