En Route: Drifting

I’m not sure how to start this post. If you’ve been reading my blog since 2014/2015, you’d know I always go to La Union for some specific reason.

But for the first time (ever), I didn’t have any particular agenda when I booked a trip to LU last month, complete with my laptop (I was expecting to write, but the universe had other plans) and a book (which I have not finished), plus a trusty journal for some life analyzing (as if I needed more of it).

I’ve been meaning to book my own out of town trip because sometimes, taking yourself out to “retreats” is a good way to reconnect with yourself. At least, for me. Living in a busy city where everything is 24/7 calling for your attention (ahem, work) is not exactly as pleasing as it sounds. So there, I took the bus (biyaheroes.com is so efficient!), met up with my LU friends, caught the sunset, did some writing, had a mental breakdown, and finally learned to stay put for the first time in 2018.

(Above: Particularly amused with my friend Maka’s office because of the library of books, which I obviously went crazy over. Spent a good few hours after lunch reading and dissecting a few titles while waiting for check-in at Vessel.)

I’ve been eyeing Vessel Hostel since it opened a few years ago. Something about the architecture made me want to book a bunk bed; and I was right. It was amazing. It felt like you were back in time with the simple and straightforward interiors. Obviously an old soul and a sucker for anything wood, so I easily enjoyed my two nights here (except for my noisy roommate who snored the whole time I was there on the second night. Horrible!).

As someone who travels alone a lot, I’ve always been at peace with myself (not necessarily with my thoughts). But being in La Union was hard. I tried to shut off parts of myself, tried to make sense of my thoughts, pulled tarot cards, did some work. But nothing was going as planned (especially if you count the part where my InDesign software crashed and my files got deleted). My brain had its own internal crisis. I started to realize it just dawned on me how pathetic I was for not realizing that 1) I’m so tired (no, more like fatigued) with the rate I’m going, work-wise, and 2) I’m so frustrated for only acknowledging this as a weakness, when in fact, it was the strength I needed to act accordingly (and make decisions that would help solve this problem).

You’re probably going to read this and say, “OMG, what is she even trying to say here?” Lol. Here’s the thing. I’ve been suffering with quarter life crisis since this summer started. I’ve been so fixated on leaving and figuring out where to go next (and what to do) that this “breeding period” aka my last few months here has always been a blur to me. I just know I was going to work and get all my deadlines done before I board that plane to New York. (And for the record, I’m going to be back in December, and eventually decide on where to take things from there.)

But little did I know that several factors were at stake here. First off, my physical health has been deteriorating lately. Then, there’s my mental health. There’s also the part where I become lethargic / I get migraines every day / I end up asking myself why am I still forcing work if my brain is just giving up on me. So right now, as I type this out, I’m slowly trying to pick up the pieces and watch over myself more. Obviously, this trip was square one of “road to self-improvement”. Let’s just say that’s my ongoing project for the rest of the year.

I’ve always liked La Union. From the first time Mikka brought me here in 2014, to unexpectedly meeting a set of friends (now my LU barkada) last year. It’s always been a place I like revisiting for the same reasons that I always visit Singapore and Japan: I see self-growth in places where I used to wander. Is it weird that I like doing this? It’s also why I send myself postcards every year at the same countries…I write a bit about how things are and see how one thing leads to another.

So yeah, that’s how LU’s been for me. I even told myself I won’t be back because of how things ended up last year, but the universe is I guess pretty tricky with these things.


My favorite part is always the morning. There is a silence I can’t comprehend, a silence that keeps me in tune with the present. I read a few pages of The Art of Thinking Clearly and went up and down the stairs to take in some more of the quiet ambiance, the morning sun, and do a bit of writing.

The sunlight is nice, the quiet is nice, everything is nice. I like it that way. Nice and quiet.

How ironic is it that when you are away, you think of home? You also think of other places, places that you’d rather be in. Sometimes I find myself drifting away from where I am at this moment, daydreaming about the next trip, the near future, the unlimited possibilities, the reality of it all happening…and then it all goes back to the present in a snap.

That’s been me lately with life. I’ve been so stressed that I’m often looking past this struggle and go straight to the other side, to the part where things are making sense, where I get to go away for a short time. For when I don’t have to worry about work, about trying to prove something, about trying to be who I am for others. But I’m slowly learning that maybe looking too far ahead won’t give me the answers I’m looking for. It helps to ultimately focus on what’s right in front of me for now and get my sh*t together, because as much as I get tough love and good advice from friends and family, I’m still responsible to act on my own choices and make decisions that truly matter. And for now, that involves making a conscious choice to stand up for myself, address current concerns, and most importantly–take good care of myself, while I can.

I don’t want to sulk in and feel shitty about these last few months just because I’m still here. The problem comes with the drifting: drifting of thoughts, drifting of dreams, drifting of the totality that is me. I’ve lost touch with who I am and what I really want in life because I’ve been finding ways to escape. But as they say, really, the only way out of this crisis is through.



Photos from my iPhone and disposable camera