I was twenty-four the first time I boarded a plane. It was a forty-five minute flight via Philippine Airlines from Dipolog City to Cebu, two of the many fascinating travel destinations in the Philippines.
At that time I was one of those unfortunate souls who could barely tolerate traveling a mile, by land or by sea, without feeling as though a million giant butterflies are frantically trying to escape from the abyss of my Filipino gut. Nevertheless, I survived that first flight without the whole world knowing: I had to force-feed myself a handful of Dramamine right before hopping unto the motorcab that took me to Dipolog City’s airport.
I cannot pinpoint the precise moment of my voluntary surrender to the whims and caprices of the travel bug in me. All I know is that my love for travel has persistently grown through the years. The newness of places and faces – of things seen and unseen – makes my heart sing. The synergy of the unfamiliar, as it waltzes with the too familiar, instantly presses my reset button. It ignites the sparks of my inner magic, fostering a sense of balance deep within my core.
I love the way this travel bug bites; so I let it bite deep, and often.
The Sophomore Journey
Four months after surviving that first flight, I grabbed my first international solo-travel adventure. With nothing but a gray duffle bag full of clothes – and a trusting heart full of hope – I flew from Dipolog to Manila, Manila to San Francisco, and San Francisco to New Orleans.
Those one-way tickets were like surgical shears, neatly cutting off my existential umbilical cord for good. My parents were dismayed, my siblings were worried, my close friends were shocked. I was scared and excited all at once. It is even harder to believe that a million giant butterflies – the ones that used to fill my gut each time I get inside a moving vehicle – had eventually, and permanently, abandoned me. A single, ferocious, super-size beast mercilessly took over, colonizing every living cell in my gut!
Wanderlusts know this beast so well, and simply call it ‘the travel bug.’
My Next Step
In a world where mindfulness is a high-priced commodity for most, the joy of meeting new people and visiting new places mellows me. It helps me become more interactive – and less reactive – to the perfect imperfections of people and things. This relentless pursuit, for opportunities that take me to places I have not been, is a formidable force that has become quite unstoppable.
I can almost see my future self: globetrotting till it’s time to settle down – and listen – to hear strangers render their heartfelt eulogy at my otherwise uneventful funeral…. the day after I turn 120.
Written by: Lili Price
Lili Price is a savvy solo traveler living in New Orleans. She is a mother,
registered nurse, brain aneurysm survivor; a freelance writer, and avid
member of the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance.
All Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons