Islandhopping 101: Life’s Lesson-Reckoned While Traveling The 0ff The Beaten Path



Having been on the road, and at sea, for countless times over the span of seven years, I feel I had a better confidence to go on a solo flight once again without a slight vexation of getting adrift over so many uncertainties – the reason? personal gain outweigh the risk. The sight of foreign backpackers roaming around the city street and off the beach made me think of doing a modest wayfaring of my own; and so, here I go again getting ready for my next island hopping trip which I’m about to begin few days after New Year’s celebration.

“Why you keep on traveling that far, what’s the drama?” A curious friend once asked me.

I still remember vividly when I first step on a backpacking trip way back 2008- two weeks after I resigned from my previous job as a Chief Steward of a prestigious club in Makati City- I boarded a bus in Araneta Bus Terminal (Cubao) heading down south by way of Bicol, Samar, and Ormoc (Leyte) looking for ideas; searching for an answer to my life’s conundrum. The moment I step-out of the bus after 29 hours of back-breaking, and butt burning trip I finally got an answer.

In my own perspective, back-packing, wandering off the beaten-path, and/or Island hopping are all synonymous to mind/heart probing. Often times solution or ideas are not easily found inside one’s home,  you need to go outside the box and stare over the horizon; see inspiring scenery, clear some clatters over one’s head; whilst, having a moment of peace and tranquility for days to a week could freshen one’s mind, and eventually ideas will surely pops-out. Trying it myself, after moments of contemplating I was surprised to find the answer to the puzzle of life, it was all along the corner waiting to be tapped on.

Looking at the vast empty space of the sea, the seemingly distant islands over the horizon that grew larger every minute served as a form of meditation on finding my sanity, self awareness, and heart. During those years of traveling I met no one who came near of disclosing to me how the world works,  no learning institution either had successfully thought me the same craving that I yearned- it was upon series of walk to some of the Off the beaten-track then came a revelation of the teaching of life:

 My Life’s Purpose 

Having been working on Food and Beverage Industry for almost twenty years, honestly 124I got drained. The mere presence of bosses screaming day-in and day-out, the office politics (Pinoy style) that works like sickening, the heated competition over position and pay; the drama, and the intrigued were too much for me until one day I said, “I need something new,  something different.”  It was one of the most daring decision of my life which I did not regret, and I’m glad the heaven above showed me the right way. Financially, I was a little off (unlike before when I was working) but the peace of mind while living a meager life far away from the hectic schedule of city living, and the travel I did once in a while are far more rewarding.

“Tomorrow is tomorrow.
Future cares have future cures,
And we must mind today.”

Sophocles, Antigone

 Reality bites, but that is the Reality!

129“You can’t have all the pies and eat it” say’s my former boss. I agree wholeheartedly, sometimes you need to choose which life is best for you. Most the time you need to choose between what your brain tells you to do, and what your heart is yearning you to do! The reality is, in choosing the latter you may let go as well of the former (or vice versa)- the decision I made on not to live on a chaotic city, and rather dwell on unpretentious way of life is not without complexities- but the bottom line is,  it made me happy!

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost

 Hope for the Best, Expect for the Worst!

123Going to several stage of career failure, I said I had enough. The mere experience of failing one life adventure after another was a bit overwhelming, and yet it keep on  coming. The good side of all of these head/heart aches are the lesson you learn out of it. Every failure turns out to be a valuable education not keenly thought in any classroom; they’re like a priceless scar that often leaves you like a battle hardened soldier bruised after grueling engagement- and I darn like it- a reminder that after all I’m simply a human being….

“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Samuel Beckett

  Each of us has a fight of its own

122I mean who hasn’t, right?  Is there anyone in this world who is free from trouble of his own? The more I see a laughter on their faces, the more I see troubles hidden behind it- I admit I’m one of those guilty.  Take for example the perception of building one’s career, seems to be very easy if you will follow the step by step instructions, just study your lessons, and took the necessary exam as instructed, then graduate; next is get employed and earn the necessary job experience for a couple of years, perhaps from different companies and there you go the secret of success! But then where’s the challenge? Where’s the excitement of the up’s and down?

Let’s say you took a different approached, somewhere were few people took the road less traveled. Often, the not so famous approach is the most difficult, and few dare to take the risk because only few only succeed; but for those who are man enough and took the challenge, would soon face the exhausting conundrum of events …

“Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.”

Nick Hornby

And there you are a man standing tall against all the boys- fighting against odds- and his worst enemy is himself.

 The Only Constant in this World is rather Change

117The beauty of all of this facet of life is, it never last that long. When facing a difficult problem early on my life I finally felt the old adage “When it rains, it pours!” And so it is, indeed, but I also grasp the idea that after the storm comes a calm sky, and such  beauty it invites every weary heart to  pick-up every little pieces and start all over again – everything seems to change for the better, and I felt good about it.

“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”  


Last but not the least, learn to laugh once in a while, for we Filipino’s have it, no matter what the situation we have at present – bad to worst- we bring along friendly laugh, because we knew that after the storm comes a fine weather.

What’s yours?

Happy New Year to one and all… And be safe!






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