“As someone told me lately,
‘Every one deserves a chance to FLY!'”

Inside of us is a clamor to go chase things that our hearts so long desire, that clamor to go beyond our comfort zones and discover uncharted territories. This was at the back of my mind earlier this year when I booked that flight to Coron, Palawan, one of many places I’ve been longing to visit.

I was actually feeling a little nervous when I booked the ticket. I was totally unsure because what I’m about to do is something I have never done before. Yes, I’ve traveled before, but with the company of my friends, who organized the minutiae of the travel. For the first time, I will be travelling on my own, and I have to organize everything myself.

The idea of solo travel got to me originally before I turned 25th birthday but the doubts got the better of me so I shut my plans down. But this time around, I will gather the courage to push through with it. To do so, I kept most of my friends in the dark. I only mentioned it to a select few. I didn’t want anyone, most especially myself, to plant any seeds of doubt. I will do things my way. Every one deserves a chance to fly after all.

Feigning courage, I set out with straight face. However, when the travel date came, I was feeling a bit giddy. Anxiety filled me and my heart was racing, beating out of its rhythm. Questions begin to fill my mind. Will I have fun? Will I make it there safely? Will I survive this idiotic clamor? Gasping in a deep breath of air, calming my nerves, I mustered the courage to push through. This is a chance I gave myself and this chance I am taking, no matter the odds that I have to face.

“And if I’m flying solo,
At least I’m flying free.”

But why? What’s my motivation to fly solo? To that I am not even sure how to respond. To me it was just an idiosyncrasy which somehow I had to fulfill. Until the very moment I boarded the plane, I was still filled with doubts. But there is somehow an uncharacteristic allure to finding one’s self in a foreign territory, alone.

Am I escaping my reality? Yes my reality is a nightmarish heap of illusions and disillusions but no, I am not running away. It is my strong belief that one must face problems and challenges heads on. However, there are just times that the going gets tough that one must take a breather from the things that are choking him. There are times that our vision get fogged up. In order for us to see ourselves again, we have to wipe that fogged up mirror, by finding tranquility away from one’s nightmarish reality.

Profound as it may sound, I wanted to refill my inner manna. I wanted a respite from my tedious reality so that I can rejuvenate and prepare my armors for life’s even bigger battles. It isn’t in the grandeur of the scheme that I am hooking myself up but rather in the subtlety of the lessons that I am hoping to pick up along the way and in the discrete possibility of gaining new friends.

Ultimately, it was the inner adventurer in me that finally made me take that plunge into the unknown, a teeny voice longing to be heard in the cacophonous oblivion of one’s quotidian existence. The yearning to see and experience something new is too much an allure for a sentimentalist like me, no matter how absurd it sounds. Yes, I’m flying solo, but I’m flying free.

“And to those who’d ground,
Take a message back from me.

I am more than glad that I was able to overcome my initial anxieties. Traveling on my own in uncharted waters is definitely enlightening. The four-day escape shed better light on the path I am taking, and on who I am.

On this path I’ve chosen, I’m grateful for meeting awesome people. At first I was hesitant if they are going to take me on their wings, but surprisingly, they did! It is absolutely one of grandest gestures that proves what Filipinos are known for, hospitality. It paints a smile on my face as I surmise that we Filipinos are so hospitable that we get to extend it in places not even our own.

There is definitely an understated charm to interacting with and opening up to people you just met. To be able to open a part of your soul and share it to perfect strangers is an otherworldly experience. To languidly laugh in the company of people you just met is refreshing, if not enchanting. It feels great to be able to dress yourself down before people you barely know, sans the fear of being judged. Only in letting yourself go will you realize how other people are willing to embrace your eccentricity.

But beyond these is the joy of learning something new from these people you just met. Life is, after all, one big school with every person you meet a treasure trove of lessons. You only need to open your mind and heart to be able appreciate it. And if you do find the heart to open yourself up, you’ll be freeing yourself of the manacles that hold you to the ground. You gain better perspective, and you become a better version of yourself.

“Tell them how I am DEFYING GRAVITY,
I’m flying high, DEFYING GRAVITY!”

Flying solo for the first time was generally a resplendent experience. In spite of my initial reluctance beset by my inability to organize things for myself and decide firmly, I’ve been able to accomplish the things that I wanted to when I booked that ticket to paradise. I’ve seen the beauty of our country and of its people, but most importantly I’ve seen deeper into myself.

To sum it all up, I’ve:

  1. Met new people with whom I’ve opened a part of myself and from whom I’ve learned new things;
  2. Learned to appreciate the beauty of the subtlety of my surroundings;
  3. Broadened my horizons and gained better perspective; and
  4. Rejuvenated my inner manna.

I know that the idea of solo traveling does not appeal to some. To them it is idiotic, senseless, and a total waste of effort and money. However, there are still those with itchy feet who are unstoppable in their resolve and with indomitable courage, choose to sail stormy seas. They are the ones who touch the heart of the earth with their bare feet, full of verve and vivacity. And it’s such a joy watching them dance in the rain.

Now, I am far from the latter. I’ve just defied the gravity, I’ve gone beyond the norm. I’ve flown solo and free but I am not lesser the person that I was yesterday, rather I ended my adventure a bigger person than I was the day before I boarded the plane.

I am just starting and this solo travel was partly a social experiment. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that I’ve proven that what most people thought as impossible is actually doable. It only takes massive self belief and a giant leap of faith to be able to attain things that you strive for.

Speaking of faith, this trip have shown me many manifestations of His love. Through dark clouds and rough sees, He saw me through. He was pilot of my plane when we were experienced turbulence mid-flight. He was also the captain of my vessel when we were sailing through rough waters. I traveled by myself but I firmly believe that I was never alone because He was always there for me. After all, we believe not by sight but rather by faith.


P.S. Lines are from the song Defying Gravity used in the musical Wicked.