The day I left home to travel the world

Shoot, this is it! I am leaving home to travel the world at 19 years old. But first… let me tell you how my family and friends reacted to this decision.

Do you remember the drama in the airport in my post, The Filipino Way of Saying Goodbye? Today, it happened to me and struck me straight in the heart.

I woke up today and found myself editing Martin’s farewell video. Nikolai enters the door saying, “Di ka pa bihis???” (You’re not dressed yet???”) 

“Mabilis lang ako, ano ba!” (I can move fast, don’t worry!) I put my laptop aside, went to the shower with Chanel, and texted Francisco: “Today is the day.” I get the usual reply of “Buen dia, mi negra!” 

Chanel looks at me as I slowly washed my hair. This is the last time that I will be showering in this bathroom. I am not sure if she knows. Gray even asked me that. I think she shoes and she will understand well.

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Niko, Tiff, and I arrived at Greenbelt with growling stomachs and a tamed Denise & Erin waiting for us. Monette, who was eager to meet up for the past few weeks was also there to send away gifts for me.

(Whew! I really needed what she gave me!) We had small talks while I brutally murdered my all-American burger and fries.

My father arrived minutes before I was about to leave and filled my tub with words of wisdom. Anjelo, my older brother came to rescue my network-locked sim card. Thank God!

I honestly don’t know how my mother feels right now but I know a few things — she wishes me well, she thinks and prays for me every day, and I will be sad knowing that I will not be able to hug her for a long time.

I am not used to it. Even 2 weeks is too much! She is so brave and supportive! I cannot imagine who else can surpass all the life challenges that she battled. With that, I will never fear, but I will be cautious. I know her bravery is within me!

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And Jethro, our sweet Jethro who has evolved to a grown man this year. Thank God I had a chance to know him better and our relationship has grown to the best of its abilities.

I wish all the love in the world for him and that I will always think of him wherever I am in the world. (Sorry, I know he’s 22 but I can’t help it.) 🙂

Minutes before leaving for the airport, my sister Denise handed me a small bag with gifts inside and last-minute items that I need to bring. 

“O eto yung ano, tsaka eto.. O ayan buksan mo yan,” enumerating things one by one while holding it. She got everything I asked for! OMG! What an awesome older sister! (Seriously, I am older.)

The polaroid that I’ve been asking for from her as a going-away gift (I didn’t convince her enough, btw) served as the photo op tool of the day.

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Every click and develop, Denise would give everyone pens to write something on the film and give it to me. She’s a ninja — with pens and all that controlled films. Now I know I will never get a hold of that camera.

We paved the Friday madness of Makati to the airport via skyway. I was sitting in front, still editing Martin’s farewell video. I had to finish it before my flight so that Tiff can upload it and Martin can see it before he arrives in Myanmar. Plus, it’s long overdue!

I was there on the dot for check-in. When I was packing, I knew that I am only allowed 10kg by Philippine Airlines but everything was based on the 23kg that I have for Qatar Airways.

Tiffany said it should be fine, maybe they will just charge me US$10 for the excess load. When I approached the check-in counter, the ground attendant said that it will cost me 400PHP/kg.

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Guess how many kilograms my luggage excess was? Nine (9)! Lucky nine! “It’s 3,600PHP all in all, ma’am.”

Whaaatttt?????? Really, PAL??? I haven’t left the Philippines yet and I am charged US$100.

Fiiiinnneeee! I figured that was my whole life in that luggage and there’s no way that I’m going to take nine (9) kilograms out.

I texted my sister with frustration then the girl asked, “Where would you like to be seated, ma’am?”

“Exit row please,” I said.

“We charge US$4 for the exit row, ma’am.”

“Fine.” What’s 200PHP if I’m already paying 3,600PHP for that excess baggage? I went to the cashier and paid for everything then went out to say one last goodbye to the people waiting for me outside.

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I told them what happened and charged my phone. We had a few sticks and chats. We also finished the last of the polaroid films! It was thirty (30) minutes before boarding.

When the big clock near the entrance said, “it’s 7:30,” I knew I had to go. We had a group hug (and individual hugs too), and exchanged kisses and messages.

As I am hugging my sister, last, I saw Inna, Niko, and Tiff slowly bursting into tears and Erin with a big “good luck and I love you” smile. I had to ignore them or else I will end up crying in public too.

My sister’s embrace was the warmest of them all. I felt electrocuted which started to produce a few tears and made my eyes red. Then, I walked away. “Don’t look back,” I whispered.

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I looked back. Do you know why? My sister had last-minute reminders, OMG! Up to the last minute, she was still reminding me of things that seem to be buffering because I wasn’t really paying attention.

I just nodded so she would stop talking and I continued walking. But that last look at my sister, I saw her crying with all the others but trying to be brave and walk the opposite way. I continued walking up to the departure gates.

The boarding gate was no different at all. I have thirty-two (32) unread messages, fourteen (14) missed calls and eight (8) Instagram tags notification.

I read my sister’s messages about seeing her in Brazil next year; Erin wishing me love and luck with a lot of smiles; Tiffany asking for my Vimeo login details so she can upload Martin’s video; Inna saying “I love you” a lot of times; my brother Jethro apologizing because he didn’t arrive on time at the airport; and my mother — my mother whom all of these years supported me in everything that I wanted to do in life, everything that I wanted to be; my mother who wishes that the universe will love me the way she does. Dear ma, I am me now because of you and I thank you for that. I’m gonna go out there, spread my wings and fly high!

To everyone who texted me, thank you, and sorry if I wasn’t able to reply. I appreciate all your messages and I love you for that! I know I have a few friends but I know all of you are real. This is it: I guess I am really on my way to travel the world!

Meanwhile, at Gate 23, boarding was delayed.

Finally, the first entry on this travel the world blog. Thank you for starting to follow this journey!

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