chasing peace first step

Chasing Peace: The First Step is the Hardest

Burnt and peeling skin. Sore muscles. Palpitating heart. Overthinking brain. A really heavy backpack. My brain is on fire!

[Warning: This is a really personal entry and I’ve been debating against myself if I should publish this or not. It might bore you. It might suck the life out of you because it could be a bit sad and dramatic. But if there’s one thing I want  you to feel, it’s that this entry should hopefully inspire you.]

chasing peace first step

I wake up feeling and doing the same things everyday: spite, self-pity, self pep talk, PM a friend for more drama, play music, cry, stare at nothing in silence, zone out, love, and hate.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had a really hard time sleeping. I usually sleep around 1:00 AM since I finish work at midnight. I would wake up after two hours and I won’t be able to sleep again until after another hour. It becomes a cycle until 8:00 AM when I would have to eventually wake up, exercise, make coffee, and start working for TripZilla. Last weekend, I spent a month-ender surf trip in Dulag. I was at my happiest state since the start of the year but as soon as I went home, I realised that the time for my trip, journey, or whatever this is called was closing in real fast.

On the last quarter of last year, I started planning (in my head) for my activities this year. Some of my Japanese friends from SSEAYP are visiting the Philippines for a few weeks so I figured I should take the opportunity to travel with them. Other friends planned to go overseas and revisit some of the countries we went to last year. As for myself, I realised that there’s so much more to explore in my country so I’m choosing to travel around the Philippines this year. Right now, the plan is to go to Cebu, then back to Tacloban, Davao, and finally Luzon until my friends’ departure on February 24. After that, I have no concrete plans yet except that I’m suppose to go to Siargao on April for Gawad Kalinga’s Bayani Challenge. And even for this Siargao trip, I still don’t have tickets or a final itinerary.

The most common question I get from people I tell my story to is, “Where do you get money? You must be rich.” It’s  a perfectly valid question but I would usually roll my eyes and laugh. No, I’m not financially wealthy. I pretty much emptied my savings last year. It just so happens that it was payday yesterday and my dad decided to pay for half of my tuition (yes, I’m studying for my master’s online) so I now have a little in my pocket. Next week, I’ll be receiving my pay from my online tutoring stint. Everything I do is online: work, studies, socials. I honestly do not have a lot considering that I’ll be travelling all three major islands of the country for three weeks. But it’s all a matter of perspective. I’m literally just living by the day. My mother calls me a gypsy now. I call myself a hobo. But whatever! YOLO. Bahala na si Batman. I can’t believe I’m saying all these things. I used to be a really organised, OC, and a “sure” kind of person. What I’m doing now is completely out of my comfort zone.

I would often think to myself, “What the hell am I doing with my life? This isn’t where I want to be. Is this really what I want? I’m screwing myself up.” In my point-of-view, I’m wasting away my time and my youth. But then I realised that for others, I’m “living the life.” I’m living everybody else’s dream. It makes me feel better but it also scares me a lot. Eleanor Roosevelt believed that being scared is good. If something scares you, then you must be doing the right thing. I’m not sure if it’s a mantra I should believe but it’s what I’m holding onto right now.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

 

Yesterday, I went to see my mom to tell her that I was finally leaving. I would come back in a week but I might not stay home for long since I’ll be out and about for the days that I’ll be in Tacloban. I cried and shared my reservations, fears, and anxieties. She expressed her worry but then she gave me her blessing and said that if this is really what I wanted, then I have to man up. My parents would rather have me roam around and find whatever it is that I’m looking for, than stay in Tacloban, work 8-5, and feel resentful. I kept updating my parents about my whereabouts. We said our I love yous and they both wished me the best. My mom even quoted Paulo Coelho saying,

Go follow your legend.

 

The quote below was taken from a song called Wanderlust. My friend, Mye, recommended it as the song reminded her of me. Those four lines pretty much sum up what I’m feeling now.

It breaks my heart to walk away
And it breaks my heart to grow roots and stay
I chase my peace and I’m left to roam
Where I go, God only knows

 

chasing peace first step

I once had a little chat with a random person I met online. I told him about my plans to travel. He was amazed and said, “Wow. So you live to travel.” I replied,

I travel to live.

 

And I truly do. I want to “chase my peace.” I don’t know what peace means right now. It could be when I’m just by the beach, staring at the ocean, or riding the waves on a surf board; it could be when I’m climbing a mountain; or when I’m holding my guitar and making music; or when I’m reading a good book; when I’m staring at a blank space; I honestly have no idea. But one thing is for sure: I want to live. I want to swim, not just float. I want to find my person and “follow my legend.”

Right now, I’m writing this piece in a cafe somewhere in Cebu City. A few hours ago, it dawned on me that I was really doing this. I’m on my own. And I smiled, proud of myself for taking this leap of faith.

Today is the first day of February. For many, today is the start of the “month of love,” for some, it’s the “month of bitterness.” It might be your first day at work, or your birthday, or this might just be an ordinary hump day. Whatever this day represents to you, may today be a good day. Today isn’t the start of my search for my “soulmate.” Today is the start of my selfish voyage for peace. Today, I roam alone for now. Today, I start the journey of a lifetime.

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