February 23, 2014 marked the day my journey of being deeply in love with traveling reached another milestone. The day when I let the sun kissed my skin, and the waves touched my feet. That day I made love with Batanes, is the day I will never forget.
The making of the dream
I remember that one time as I came across some blogs about Batanes. With a resounding voice, I said to myself, “Someday I’ll be there.” I never thought how powerful those words can be, that last November, instead of only booking a flight back home, I ended up booking another flight to the province of my dreams.
Before the trip, I was already questioning myself if I was doing the right thing. I kept my plans from my family for I know that they will have something to say. For years, I have been seeking for their approval, but all I keep getting is a silent treatment.
The day came, and I went to Batanes with no plans at all. My friends and I were all seated on the plane ready for take-off, and I heard the sound of the engine roaring, but it was incomparable to the sound of my heart thumping so fast.
Few minutes before arrival, I was just about to burst in tears. As I took my first step in Batanes, I turned my back against my friends and wiped away the tears. I was emotional because it all felt too surreal. I couldn’t be more proud for being able to keep my promise of making that dream happen.
The Batanes state of mind
What I wanted to do that time was to search for myself. I was fighting over the idea of doing a solo travel or joining my friends. It was one of those times I felt as if I wanted to be alone, when all I really wanted was someone to make me feel that I am not.
I took my bike with me and started to pedal. I was screaming on the inside but I tried to contain it as much as possible. I was pedaling too fast, that at one point, I almost got into an accident. I laid down on the empty road and after several minutes, I picked myself up and decided to go on a walk.
I associated what happened with life in general.
“Life is more like biking; you need to push yourself to get to where you want to be and push yourself more to get further. We can’t become who we are if we stay exactly where we are.”
The one to fall in love with
She’s like Maria Clara, elusive and refined. She’s one of a kind, a classic that has the ability to captivate everyone with her almost rustic charm. With each step I took and every sight I saw, it made me helplessly fall in love with her. Batanes is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and it is more real than any place I have been to.
We immersed ourselves in a culture we thought can only be closely-experienced through textbooks and blogs. We stayed in a stone house and tried cuisines that can only be tasted in Batanes. It showed to us how simple but happy life can be. And day by day, I fell in love with her deeper and deeper.
Not only was I hypnotized. The trip confirmed what I am made to do and it made me realize that I am half a heart whenever I am not on the road.
The “why” on why I travel
The trip was able to answer the questions I never dared to ask. The question that cornered me since, that same question people and even my family asks me, and that question I just can’t give an honest answer to. The biggest mystery on why I travel.
I sat on a stone overlooking the vast Batanes Sea and I asked myself the question, “Ken, why?” I closed my eyes and searched for an answer. Everything, then, came like waves of emotions and I found myself completely and helplessly drowning.
The only thing I know is that I travel to get there, without any single idea on where “there” is. I may be one of those who are constantly searching for that something, never really knowing what that something is, or never knowing where to start. I am one of those who are always on the lookout, tirelessly filling what they think are missing.
All I know is traveling makes me feel grounded. I can’t just abandon the very thing that makes me feel alive and has taught me a whole lot of life lessons. If before I was that someone who is in search for happiness, now, traveling made me realize that my happiness lies in the happiness of others.
The parting time
The night before we went home, we came to talk with Ate Crisan, our host, with her story on how she ended up in Batanes. It was love that brought her there, and it moved me. It made me realize that though I may not have a support system behind me, I may not be that financially well-off, and even if the world turns its back on me, I should not ignore what my heart pumps for. That after everything, I believe that my heart and this love will bring me to a place where I know I belong.
The whole experience has been off the scale. Those moments I know will all be stories someday, but this is not just another story. This is my story. More than anything, this is me keeping my dreams alive, this is me establishing the kind of person that I want to be.
I find it hard to let go of Batanes, but I know that I need to. I courageously carried myself to the plane and bade adieu with a heavy heart. I sat still emotional, and while looking down the window, I said to myself, “There’s definitely a bigger world out there and I am made to see it.“
There is no such thing as not making your dreams happen.