It’s already my 80th day on the road of Southeast Asia. Indonesia is my 6th country so far. I can tell you where I have been from the local foods I ate: Fish Amok – Tomyam – Sticky Rice – Banh Xeo – Char Koay Teow – Nasi Goreng. I can also do their national beers but let’s do that next time.
Rewind 3 years ago << Day 80 in the Philippines.
I remember 3 years ago when I did another 100 days of backpacking the Philippines, Day 80 was the day when I finally visited all the 80 provinces of the Philippines. It was not a common thing back then as I only knew 1 travel blogger who did that- Ivan Henares. Now, I see a lot of Filipinos tick off each provinces as easy as 1-2-3 and some with flair. I’m happy because finally Pinoys are starting to learn that they don’t need a suitcase full of cash to start traveling. Kudos to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers who have inspired a lot of our countrymen to travel our country and abroad.
Now playing: Day 80 in Bali.
As I walk down the beach for sunset I was reminded of my Facebook post 2 years ago. With it a photo of a surfer inside a barrel in Padang-Padang, Bali and I added the words “without any decent surf in the past 33 days (yes, i counted), my mind brought me to a place called Bali. Adding this to my ever-increasing bucketlist. Or Siargao na lang muna?” The timeline of the photo says September 6, 2013. Just 3 months after that- December 3, 2013 I found myself in Denpasar Airport, Indonesia. It wasn’t planned, it just happened naturally like a flow of the river to the sea. Then again early this year, I went back Bali and surfed for a week. Now on my 80th day on the road, I woke up early and rented a 9’0. I was reconnected to the Balinese waves and it was awesome. Stoked was I after more than 2 hours of morning paddle out.
80 I pondered during a hearty post-surf breakfast also looks like “0” and “∞” infinity sign. The two together powerful signs- like God, infinite, without beginning, without end. Much has changed in me since I first came to Bali. I wrote in my journal in Bali,
“Bali sounds like paraiso… a perfect getaway… I thought I was on a getaway only to find out that I was starting a journey of no return, a journey within. How God used surfing to bring me to Bali- not to surf but to question my life, my purpose and everything in between.”
Walking back to my guesthouse after taking photos of the sunset, somehow the ocean pulled me back. I stopped and faced the ocean, her waves getting gnarlier as I walk near- that wide expanse of water which if I step closer can easily engulf me. Above it of course a wider expanse of the now grayish sky. Humbling would be an understatement. Infinitesimal. I felt like a tiny grain of sand in a long beach. Tears began flowing from my eyes and I can’t help but ask one of the fundamental questions in life, “Who Am I?” “Who Am I?” “Who Am I?” No answer. “Who Am I?” “Who Am I?” “Who Am I?” Again no answer. I have been asking this question since Day 1 and yet no answer. Finally, I surrendered. Maybe the answer is not important, maybe it is the question. Maybe the question should be left unanswered and I have to be content that I have this question along with me in my journey to keep me grounded that I don’t have to know everything and in no way I can no everything. Maybe even if someone tells me the answer I won’t even understand. Because really how can my finite human mind understand “∞”? Maybe the answer is in the question. That is because I am ∞.
I suddenly had this phrase, “may my accomplishments be like footprints in the sand and my life be as free as the wind.” I wish there was more after that to somehow qualify as a poem but there was none. I guess that says it all. Now I will make a wish that the wind will blow to South America, Europe, North America and Africa.
I post real-time photos and share travel notes on my Instagram account: @journeyingjames