VANCOUVER - SHANGHAI - MANILA - BUSUANGA ISLAND
The Journey to the Philippines was long. Thirty-something hours of airport queues and holding rooms, security-checks and air time, baggage-drops and immigration lines; floating through the motions with no real grip on time or space. And even longer was the journey before all that. Seemingly endless months of late-night drink slinging, weaving through restaurants in Calgary ever-balancing my tray of pints and shot glasses (with only minor spillage).
“Would you like to add bacon to your burger?”
“.... and another round of shots, right?”
Be an Order-Maker, not an Order-Taker, the managers would tell us.
I was created for more than this, my inner voice insisted. Meanwhile in my daydreams, I already inhabited foreign, warmer lands.
“Your beer is flat? I'm so sorry, let me get you a new one,”
I smile sweetly.
I wasn’t sorry.
And finally the time came to cash in my tip jar and subsequently explode in the infinite possibilities that travel offers! LIFE!!
It didn’t begin to sink in until the third and final plane, a 100-seater propellor aircraft that whisked us from the Philippine capital of Manila to a small paradise island called Busuanga. The staff on the aircraft wore smiles as bright as their sunflower-yellow shirts, rivalled only by the morning sun which began to illumnate the dreamy view below. In that short flight, my eyes soaked in at least thirty small, jungle covered islands which grew sleepily from the unbelievably turquoise water. I carefully selected a song to complement our landing, and couldn’t help but cry with happiness as palm trees greeted us to the ground, waving their windswept welcome dance.
I made it back to Asia! My other home, my happy place. And this country that's entirely new to me.
Seven thousand one-hundred and seven islands.