Rushed. Unprepared. A wee bit frantic.
Compared to my 2010 trip to the Philippines—which was my first trip in my adult life to the country where both of my parents were born and raised—I feel ridiculously unready for the next 17 days of exploring. Between work and Christmas preparations, there simply haven’t been enough hours in the day for the kind of research and preparation I like to do before a trip. And I do mean it literally when I say “like.” Usually I enjoy the planning for and anticipation of a vacation almost as much as I do the trip itself.
When it comes to trips to the Philippines however, I’ve realized that I have a bit of a block when it comes to trip planning. It just feels stupid to do detailed research and itinerary creation when I’m visiting my own father in the country in which he spent the first three decades of his life and where he currently lives six months out of the year! Even worse than feeling stupid, it feels presumptuous. When I travel to visit friends where they live, I might have a request or two regarding specific things I’d like to see or do, but otherwise “locals know best.”
When it comes to my dad and the Philippines though, that supposition doesn’t work when it comes to sightseeing. Growing up in metro Manila in the aftermath of WWII didn’t give my dad and his brothers opportunities for island hopping, and now he’s living here as a retiree. So there’s been some island hopping for him over the past several years, but we hit most of those locations on my 2010 trip. I’m probably going to spend the first day or two of my vacation trying to actually plan our trip schedule and activities! Not how I’d usually like to operate, but traveling always requires flexibility and this is proof of how true that is.
In the meanwhile, I’m just excited to be on my way and thankful that the full flight from San Francisco to Honolulu didn’t feel cramped or uncomfortable during the rare moments when I wasn’t asleep. I’ve gotta say that the beautiful blue skies, tropical warmth, and aloha spirit that greeted me here in Hawaii are going to make it hard to get on the next flight.
I’ll be off to Guam shortly, and from there I’ll head to Manila where I’ll land only a couple of hours before the new year. It’ll be my first time ringing in the new year abroad . . . and Pilipinos love their fireworks, so there are definitely going to be some sights to be seen when I land!
Currently listening to: “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele