2012 – The Year That Was

Atlas Mountains (Africa)In 2012, I have traveled like I can die anytime soon.

Philippines (Manila, Palawan, QC, QP) – New Zealand (Auckland)  – Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Desaru) – Brunei (Bandar Seri Begawan) – Sabah E.M. (Kota Kinabalu) – Philippines (Manila, QC) – Greece (Athens, Santorini) – Italy (Rome, Milan) – Vatican City State (Holy See) – Norway (Oslo) – France (Paris, Picardie, Aix-les-Bains/ Rhone Alpes/ Savoie) – Spain (Madrid) – Portugal (Lisbon, Cascais) – Switzerland (Geneva) – Morocco (Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Zagora) – Singapore (Singapore City).

Shall I didn’t get sick, the list continues: Israel (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem) – Belgium (Brussels) – Netherlands (Amsterdam). Germany (Magdeburg, Berlin) – Austria (Salzburg) are in the lists too. My friends have been like waiting forever. Good to have something to look forward to in the future😀.

***

It probably is a bit late to do a recap for the past year. I have no concept of time😉 so allow me please, because 2012 (despite some downs ie. sickness and other stuff) had been very, very generous and I would classify it as the peak of my travel adventures. For the past 12 months, I was able to cover parts of Asia, Oceania, Europe and Africa while keeping my full time job up to the 3rd quarter. Finally, I gave in to my wanderlust in the last quarter.

***

Back in the Philippines, as soon as I touch down Manila, my family + relatives strongly suggests that I head directly to the hospital the moment they saw the rashes and hives marked with reddish lines scattered all over my body. This allergy has been like a saga. It comes and goes, comes and goes, will come again and go. Like people in our life.

The diagnosis from the UST hospital: Acute Urticaria. The challenge is that the medical specialists could not trace the root cause. There was no problem with my blood count nor with urine analysis. Judging from the appearance though (based on my personal research), the urticaria looked like associated with drug reaction. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I’m taking medicines for months now and I started to hate it because I don’t feel like normal anymore. During my admittance at Hopitaux de Paris, the findings: Gastroenteritis. Whatever diseases I have had, it is telling me one thing: having good health is paramount to living life to the full.

So comes 2013, I only have three wishes: excellent health, better work opportunity and a change of mindset towards relationship.

***

Oh mighty 2012, Thank You for bringing me to places I’ve been dreaming only before

Twenty Twelve, you simply exceeded my expectations. When I look at the photos where I’ve been, I could not contain the overflowing gratitude I am feeling. Thank you is such an understatement. I find it mind blowing when I look back how I surpass those challenges that I have to go through to achieve what I have set out to do. One major lessons learned: when something goes wrong or when something doesn’t just work or happen as I wish, it is because there is something better that I have to experience. I need not go against it. I just have to let go. Freely. And trust that everything else will be alright. When things become unfavorable at my workplace, I have to set foot to try long term travel. When going to Seville did not work, I end up in Lisbon. When my WWOOF host to Epernay did not respond, I end up in Aix les Bains/ Rhone Alpes/ Savoie and Geneva. When I got ill after Marrakech, I was stuck in Paris. My illnesses taught me to slowdown. When the stubborn allergies doggedly crop up all over my face during my recent interview in Singapore, I have to gently inform my upcoming employer that I need to go back home to rest. So that I can be well rounded again when I get back to work.

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Desaru, Malaysia

Desaru, Malaysia

Bendar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah EM

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah EM

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Santorini Island, Greece

Santorini Island, Greece

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

St Peter's Square, Vatican City State

St Peter’s Square, Vatican City State

Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway

Paris, France

Paris, France

Picardie, France

Picardie, France

Compiègne, France

Compiègne, France

Aix-les-Bains, France

Aix-les-Bains, France

Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco

Ouarzazate, Morocco

Ouarzazate, Morocco

Zagora, Morocco

Zagora, Morocco

Gardens by the Bay with MBS, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay with the MBS, Singapore

Asia, Oceania, Europa, Africa. Sometimes in my wildest dreams, I could not believe how I did it. In a span of 12 months. Not to mention the tedious procedures to obtain visas. I remember, I often receive from people raising their eyebrows (as if doubting me) when I spoke about my dreams. When I think about it now, it was and is perfectly understandable. I am a woman. Of South East Asian descent. With oriental upbringing.  I’m not filthy rich I know. Nevertheless, I want to travel the world. Devoid of any conditions. I just do it. I have said that when we have dreams that we really want to pursue, there is no space for the word “impossible”. Anything, whatever it is, – IS possible.

Professional  and individual growth

Thank You for making it real that a person can always start at the scratch and eventually become a success. I was doing totally different from what I was supposed to do. Having successfully completed a professional certification in areas where I am naturally drawn to: public relations, mass communication, community organizing, conflict resolution. Thanks for making it real in 2012.  I might join in the graduation ceremony tentatively set by end of this month😛. I will always be grateful for the trust that has bestowed upon me by my current and previous employers.

And anywhere I go, I will always carry the mantra of my Alma mater: “Serve The People”. I will always be a Forester by heart. A forever Mussaendan. A self-proclaimed CD practitioner. To carry a little bit of everything of what was learned from the academe. But as always, the best education will always be through – TRAVELS. By this, I don’t mean to justify, why I do the things I do. I just do what I think would make me happy. Even if at times, unaware, it could lead to brokenness. By trying, doing the things I fear of, exposing myself to risk, can I know how far I could go. There are no wrong routes. There are only lessons. Our life is about learning. After all, our world is filled with tales of free-spirited explorers scattered everywhere😛.

Personal development

One of the biggest take away for 2012 is that I found a way to express part of myself through blogging. I gained confidence in writing even if at times I could not juggle well with thoughts that I really want to convey nor the grammar erratum I am guilty of committing, as usual.

I guess blogging helped me a lot to be much, much more courageous in pursuing what I had been wanted to do for quite sometime: to leave (temporarily) my corporate life and go for backpacking. Through blogging I learned about people who were brave enough to pursue an unconventional kind of lifestyle. In my case, it was part of my long time dream, to be, at one point in my life, live a “nomad” life.

And as I return to my “usual life”. I often encountered similar reactions:

You (have) traveled alone?! You’re a woman! You’re not scared??! In Europe??? That’s expensive!!! You’ve been to Africa too!! How’d you do that?! You’re brave!!!

Always, almost, I received comments like these. I respond with a coy smile.

I often left, speechless.

***

So why do I travel?

Because I think that one of the major problems in our world is misunderstanding. When we travel, we reach out to people, to connect, to communicate, to understand so to be understood. When we reach out to people, an invisible wall like barriers paved the way for a more open, more accepting environment that led to a wider understanding of the differences we have while basks in celebration for the similarities we share. When we travel, we learn to understand how other people live, how they think, why they act the way they do, we hear about their dreams and aspirations in life. To live in harmony is possible. Can I say that I have more peace of mind now? I think so. That even in the midst of chaos, no storm could ever startle me.

Bonus ;-) me at Atlas Mountains. One of those firsts - snow experience :-D

Me at Atlas Mountains in Africa. One of those “firsts” – snow experience😛

So, why do I travel? Well, honestly none of the reasons I have mentioned above.  They are mere realizations after travel.

I travel to live. I live to travel. To live and to travel are ways of life.

XOXO

10 thoughts on “2012 – The Year That Was

  1. So amazing photos…😉
    Wonderful see you back here on WP…🙂

    Hope soon be ‘fit for fight’ again…🙂

    I’m not an expert at all but about “Acute Urticaria” in Denmark so I heard that 15% of the gets it at one time or another – the danish doctors say that stress is the main reason – do not know – my father had it once and then it was found out that relaxation helped, and he has not had it since…🙂

    Really like the last photos, looks like you ready for a snow”fight”… ‘hahaha’

    Happy New Year to You and Yours…🙂

    • Happy New Year Ledrake! Thanks again for your compliments🙂. Let me thank you too for being an avid follower and a regular commenter of my posts.

      I have just started to kick off for 2013 hihi.

      Thank you for sharing about Acute Urticaria. I am currently in a mountain and after caving and hiking for several hours yesterday, the stubborn allergies cropped up all over again and since the itchyness is unbearable I have to take medicine again to put me to sleep. Maybe partly it was stress yeah. Because moving constantly is stressful in a way. I do hope to find solution to this.

      Have a great 2013 for you! Stay tune! :-))

  2. hi mafs…… it’s really a wow….. to a wonderful travel experience you have had the past year and it’s true that life is a travel experience and exploration. i admire you as a person with great courage and conviction that a dream is always in the mind with great leap of action makes it happen and realize far beyond.

  3. Lovely pics and stories🙂 Truly enjoyed them… I will visit your blog again🙂 Am especially looking to visit Sabah again – love that place!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s