|Travel and take the road back with you||Apr 26, ’07 2:59 AM
Travel and take the road back with you
My dear uncle, whom I have lengthy conversations with, once waved a question in front of me as we were driving along the highway. He said, “Do you have a list of 100 things you want to do before you die?” I was jolted out of my tranquil state of mind at his query and was forced to start up with one for the remainder of the trip.
My list isn’t finished yet because I keep editing it. Scanning through it though, I’ve noticed that there is a trend so far—the items are all about doing different things unique to certain places. For example, entry number 6: cycle up the Alpe D’ Huez in France, or number 39: ride the desert train which leads to the Taj Mahal in India.
My feet get very restless and I like that unexplainably gleeful sensation I get, seeing my passport filled up with all sorts of seals and stamps. I like complaining about foreign weather and I like trying out dishes with names I cannot pronounce. I like trying to analyze people from other cultures, acknowledging their diversity yet always arriving to the conclusion that we are all the same. I like how my brain figures out a way of adjusting to each novel and puzzling situation it encounters (and knowing myself, there is always something that will come up wherever I am, whether I plan it or not).
Most of all I like going back home and I like the way I look at old things from a new perspective. Sometimes if you stare at a painting too closely and too long you only see the strokes and fail to see what they are trying to represent. You have to take a few steps back and rest your eyes on something else before looking at the artwork again. Only then can you appreciate the masterpiece standing right in front of you.
It is not uncommon for people who are fresh from deplaning to give a wince upon setting foot in NAIA. Oh what a lousy airport, we shamefacedly think as we try to imagine what a disgusting impression we must be making on our visitors. And then we extend this ranting to the ugly roads, the pollution, the hopeless traffic jams and anything and everything bad there is to notice. We like to criticize and talk about the things that our country falls short of, and we like to compare it with other nations and all the great things that they have. Of course there will always be disparities. And then finally we agree that it is much too overwhelming and stressful to come up with a plan to solve it all.
I am not going to hide the fact that I get embarrassed too every time I land and have to be reminded of our shortcomings right away. You know what though, cliché as it is, there really is no place like home, and no first-world convenience can supplant the affection the Philippines has in my heart.
I know that not too long ago I had been feeling a creeping helplessness that in spite of my awareness of what else is out there, I was still not ready or equipped to make something good and progressive and mind-bogglingly brilliant to be of enough importance to my beloved motherland. I know now too, however, that the answer is not really complicated, as most good solutions are.
In my list, I wrote down: entry number 1) Make yourself count to those who matter most to you, and entry number 2) Do what you can, and do it well.
Oh, and I also put for entry number 3) Join the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii—but that’s another story.