Sydney, Australia | 21.12.13
Today is the first day of my last year in my twenties. Suddenly, I am confronted by the technicality of not being able to wear the excuse of Youth anymore. So I wonder, if not liberty and recklessness and YOLO, what is there that is left to write for?
Maybe I could whip up tutorials on home crafts and herb gardens. Or snap a photo of my husband’s spice rack. Or churn out dailies from my work desk and burn hours debating over senseless updates in legislations on LinkedIn.
Never mind that my 55 year old father still does 200 sit ups daily and my mom still champions Candy Crush on iPad. I feel old and I am panicking.
In the last few years, I have been piecing together essays on my birthday— introspective evaluation of the past year and aspirations for the new year. The themes were always bold; hormonal, even. When one was 20 and virgin, or 25 and financially free, it was easy to feign fierceness and fearlessness. The world was always kind to slender legs— and I remember wielding that power for as long as it allowed me.
Today, I do not have that sort of resolve anymore. The scale tips closer to 60 than 50, and no amount of sit ups can any more outdo my unconditional love for rice. To top it all off, nearing 30 does not help one bit.
But guess what.
Being 29 means that I still have one year. One more year to beat the girl out of the woman; the madness out of maturity; amazing out of awesome.
The husband, love of my life and keeper of my sparkle, is very kindly supporting me in this endeavour. Even it means me roaming and running free without him at times.
So on a 40-day homecoming trip to our native, The Philippines, I am dedicating 29 days to the open road, to represent each of my years.
Taking on the challenge with me are people who share the same brand of madness of adventure: Starting with the husband and his nephews, Marco and Basti, who we are training for backpacking. Together, we are gonna embark on a bus trip to the Ilocandia.
After the New Year, I will reunite with a Dutch bloke I’ve met hungover in Bangkok back in April, Matthijs. With very sparse details in our itinerary, we are going to backpack Baguio, Sagada, Banaue, Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Coron, Cebu and Camotes.
Joining us in our trips will be fellow vagabonds, Lauren (who is joining our Sagada Trip from Canada en route China), Marky (who will rock Cebu and Camotes with us (and maybe Palawan)), Yzza (my little sister whose royal roots are expected to give us a VIP welcome during the Sinulog Season), Tina and Thilini (fellow Asian-Australians who are based in Adelaide).
So often I get asked, why Travel? I harp so much on being young and free and independent and happy and it all seems so much and so many, my mortal years can only hold what fit my palms. So I travel. Because traveling rolls all the stuff that I yearn for, tangible and otherwise, into one ball of experience. It’s an entire volume of life learnings stuffed into a backpack.
While Backpacking Philippines would only last a month, it would surely map out the rest of the year: shorter road trips, further university studies, a house, a baby. Who knows? Life is a box of chocolates.
So to 29 and beyond, YO elfin LO!
30 before 30
Go back to University.
- Buy a waterfront dwelling.
- Have a baby.
- Invest on a new business.
- Learn to surf.
- Oplan: Balik Alindog
- Write for a travel magazine.
Kickstart Words and Wanderlust.
- Blog all backlogs.
Get a promotion. Get out of town at least one weekend a month.
- Visit at least 5 new countries.
- Earn a full Australian license.
- Drive a convertible.
- Write at least one poem monthly.
- Blog every Sunday.
- Complete a writing course.
- Draft a memoir.
- Increase my company’s revenue for at least a million dollars.
- Have Mom and Dad over to Australia.
- Potpot, too.
Buy Jonat a new Canon.
- Book a Eurotrip for 2015.
- See Jopet again
- Write for Lonely Planet
- Win a WorldNomads Scholarship
- Climb a mountain
- Travel New Zealand’s South Island
- Meet Nomadic Matt 😀