I knew it would cost around $1,000 – $2,000 USD but I still opened my laptop and checked the flights. Bingo! Lima, Peru to Manila, Philippines = $1,200 USD, one-way. My mind and my heart were arguing and it was a big fight. A very ugly one, for this matter. “I miss Mama and Papi.” I thought while hoping to find a much cheaper flight. “Should I stay or should I go?” “What if….” “But…”
A heavy breath. Heart pounding. I closed the laptop and meditated for a while:
Am I ready to go home?
Most travelers can talk about hundreds of countries they’ve been to but when it comes to talking about home, the vibe shifts from being so high about places from being sober. Believe it or not, as much as you are scared to live a life of travel, I am not very comfortable of coming home. A lot of things have changed since I left to travel the world. The way I dressed changed. My food preference changed. The way I talk changed. I changed.
I don’t worry about not being able to leave again once I go home. I am worried about how much I changed throughout the years. What if I won’t be able to connect with old friends? What if I don’t think the same way my siblings and parents think? What if we will all end up arguing because they don’t agree on what I say? What if I won’t be allowed to say things in my head to fit in my culture?
Let me explain it to you thoroughly: I come from a culture of gossip, of superficiality, of telenovelas (aka drama), of celebrities as an ideal role model, of ignoring the truth instead of talking about it. I come from a country where the words hook up, condoms, sex etc are vicious and kind of vulgar to say in public, let alone publish it in a blog. By the way, I already wrote about all those ‘vicious’ words they are referring to. I was once like that.
I once was like a person who pretended to be another person, who idolised a lot of celebrities, lived and dressed like them, who talked about other people’s lives instead of my own and I will never deny that. It was so hard to accept who I was in a society where your social status matters — even your shoe brand plays a big factor.
Traveling changed all that. I now live simply, has a very big heart for the Universe and understands that there is no room for judgment in this world because every person we meet is fighting a hard battle every day. I stopped questioning people’s roots, skin color, marital status, social status and just accepted them for who they are, genuinely. And I am not just saying this — I feel it with all my heart. Best of all, I already practiced how to be honest with every little detail of my life that is why most of you know me inside and out even if we haven’t met. My life is an open book.
My writing has always been questioned by a few people and this post is coming from certain events that took place this week. First, someone shared one of my 100 Things I Will Teach My Future Daughter If She Decides To Travel the World One Day post and I was really surprised that there are still some people who don’t have an open mind about things. “Condoms? Really? You will teach your daughter to bring condoms all the time? You even wrote the word three times! You are not a mother so don’t give any advice. You don’t know anything.” By the way, writing it three times landed me on a job offer to write a script for TV commercial ad in the US. The company said they were googling for the word “condoms” and my post appeared even though it wasn’t really relevant. I don’t need to explain myself but I don’t think there’s anything wrong about teaching your children (most especially teenagers who are so high about exploring life) to use condoms. And yes, this person is right — I am not a mother so I don’t know anything about being one. But I am pretty sure it’s very hard to bring them in this world to raise them. However, when the time comes, I will stick to my word. I will raise my children with honesty, without sugarcoating words and just talking about the truth all the time. The culture I want them to grow up in will be a culture of truth and openness. I believe no one really wants to talk about the truth because somehow, it stings and it always makes humans uneasy.
Second, I met a girl from Armenia who left her country and traveled the world and she’s pretty much thinking the same. “I am different now, Trisha. And going back to Armenia scares me a lot. As you know, I am from a more conservative country than yours but I chose to leave and change my path.” Karin, if you are reading this, thank you for the wonderful conversation yesterday. I am truly amazed by your bravery to live the life you want instead of listening to what other people dictate the way of life you should be living.
Am I ready to go home?
I asked again. Am I ready to go back to the culture I grew up in? Don’t get me wrong. I am very proud to announce to the world that I am from the Philippines. Regardless of all the drama and the gossip, I am from a country of heroes who help each other when they’re in need, who sacrifices everything for their family and who loves unconditionally. But still, the answer is no. I am not ready to go home.
I forgot about booking the ticket. I didn’t even feel the need of doing it again. “I will stay here. Probably longer.” I said. Home is just one plane away and I can always do it whenever I want to. In my head, it’s too complicated but to be honest, booking a ticket is the easiest thing in the world (okay I got you. You are thinking I am rich that I can afford to buy one anytime.)
Salute — to all the people who are not afraid of the truth, to all the brave writers out there who speak their mind even if they are always being criticised and to all the travelers who were able to make it home after a long journey.
Big announcement: For the first time in two years, I decided to live in Peru for a longer period of time instead of hopping from countries to countries every 90 days. We’ll see how this rolls.