I came here to do absolutely nothing.
OK – that is a half lie.
For years I have wanted to come to the Philippines. I had already travelled extensively across South East Asia over the years and this was one place that I had still yet to uncover – until now.
Coming to the Philippines was a detox. Sure, to everyone I have seemingly been gallivanting across the world and living the dream.
‘When is enough enough (with your travels around the world)?’
‘When will you stop?’
True, I have travelled a lot. It’s a passion; its an addiction. For the most part, I feel like I have become this fearless beast that keeps wanting to power on and see as much as I can of this world of ours. The determination hasn’t even reached its peak. I’m escaping the realm of living a ’normal’ 9 – 5 life. Am I being reckless? Behind the scenes I am working on my career (as you can tell by reading this) so no, I don’t think I am. I’m sure I’ll come to that phase in my life again eventually where I will be in one place longer than 6 months and not be so restless. As for now, I don’t have any commitments to a place or to anyone and I’m pretty damn happy with that.
So back onto the Philippines.
It changed me (again).
Spending some quality time in the Philippines had changed my outlook on a lot of things. Let us start with the people. Never have I travelled to a place where the people have such a generous nature. Sure, you will bump into those who are the everyday Santa’s of kindness and just get their kicks on giving. What I have learnt from the Filipino’s (and maybe I am stereotyping here), that they are just so happy to give. So moving in the fact that some of them don’t even have much to give to begin with. To invite you over to join in on the fun, or offer you a meal amongst family and friends, they are genuinely happy to help you out or include you in. They do it without an alter motive. Always with smiles on their faces and the most infectious too! So first personal take away from the Philippines – I need to be give more. Be generous with my time more. I need to do my bit in giving back to people without any motive or expectation, not that I carried that before. I am a very grateful person but I know I can do better. I want to contribute more to people’s lives. And will.
Just like much across South East Asia, life is simplistic. People are seemingly content unlike the Western World where we have reached extreme levels of consumerism. I used to be one of them. Happy to drop a lot of coin on a bag, an overpriced dress, how reckless with money I used to be. I’m out. For those that know me well, I am a vintage lover and I pretty much should have shares in American Apparel by now with the amount of clothes I have purchased over the years.
Bring it back to the point, the people I have come across in the last few weeks in Palawan (a spectacular part of the Philippines I highly recommend) don’t come from much yet I can assure you they would be happier than you or I. I had a conversation with a local woman nearby the tourist town of Coron. She was telling me with the utmost enthusiasm about her vegetable garden. All she wanted was seeds. That was her want! I cannot imagine anyone in the Western World telling me out of all their wants, all their needs, seeds would be one of them. I was astounded, humbled and just inspired. She just wanted to grow her own Garden of Eden (Eden was her name so it fit well), provide children education on sustainability and do her bit for Mother Nature. Simple. My takeaway – simplify my life. I don’t need all my clothes. I don’t need fancy gadgets. I don’t need clutter. Get rid of the crap in my life and go to the basics of what I need – what I really do need and help educate those on the things that really should matter in life.
Slow down everyone your going too fast – I tend to agree with you and your smooth crooner ways Mr Jack Johnson
Yes I had been living life in the fast lane and it is time to pull over. I am usually that person that loves to keep being busy. Rarely do I have a lazy day or an afternoon of just sitting in front of the TV as I feel guilty if I do so. I am an active person. I am a doer. The third thing that has made me stop and think is the value of time.
I like meeting new people, maximising my use of social outings but I have realised the importance of chilling the f**k out by my lonesome. I really do need it. I need those days to recoup, mentally and physically so that I don’t burn myself out (which I have done many times before). I had many lazy days in the Philippines as it was easy to and what I craved. I kept telling people ‘Yeah I haven’t really done much’ and ‘Maybe I should have planned this slightly better.’ By now I know that the best plan is no plan but I sometimes still feel guilty that I am having an easy day, maybe wasting my time while being in such an incredible place. In all essence, I really relished those ‘days of nothingness’ and I know in future, I need to do more of them; to simply recharge, manage my time effectively and just let life unfold.
So I told you half lie.
Of course I had to do fun stuff in the Philippines! After all, its more fun in the Philippines and is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world with so much to offer. So in a nutshell, I went diving, one of my favourite things to do and not just any regular diving, World War two ship wreck diving – It was insane to say the least! This time around with after 30 plus dives around the world, I finally felt really confident with diving and its brilliant. Now all I want to do is be the ultimate Little Mermaid and hop in the water whenever I can!
I was the ultimate jungle girl for three weeks living in my bikini and bouncing between sand and water and being as adventurous as one can be. I went island hopping with new found friends a few times because that is what one does when in Palawan. I camped on the beach for a night and lost my bikini for a part of it – I blame the local rum. I found solitude with friends by kayaking to islands and having an island paradise to ourselves while watching the sun go down. For numerous days I lazed by the beach in an attempt to be rid of my pasty white body and go to brown town with it. I also played with local Filipino kids at the beach with them showing me how to swing off a rope attached to a tree. Let’s just say that my fearlessness trait to do this was missing but I took so much joy from watching those kids having the best time ‘flying’ in the air.
That is pretty much my time in the Philippines summed up.
I am feel relaxed. I am feel like my batteries are charged and I’m ready for round three of what my European adventure has in store for me and for my next goal which I will now share with you. I am sharing this because I want to see it through this goal and knowing that I shared it amongst you all, I will commit to making this eventuate.
I would like to host an event in my home town of Perth to raise funds for a charity that helps Filipino kids in remote areas with access to education and basic needs. I was so touched, so humbled by the kids over there – they are the sweetest and full of smiles and laughter. I don’t expect to change the world but if I could make a slight difference in at least one child’s life, then that is everything and makes the event worthwhile.
It makes me really happy just sharing that and I am really excited about doing it!
So my time in the Philippines, on paper it doesn’t look like I did a lot but the effect that it had on me was so great. It was a place where I really got to converse with locals and be inspired by them to make a change in my life for the better. And that’s no lie.