I stare at the screen. The blinking cursor. I type a few words, shake my head, and delete it all. I switch tabs. Scroll through the albums, the photos — memories that have been made this year. I switch back to the word processor. Again, the blank page. It’s difficult. I can’t place it. I’m having trouble writing. Where do I start?
The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked. ‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’
The year started slow for me. January was spent recovering from the massive overspending I did over Christmas of the year before. This has been a trend for me, I’m afraid. I always go overboard with the Christmas shopping. It’s one of the things I really enjoy doing, and I always go nuts. So, January … January was me recovering from that.
The same goes for February. During recovery months or “saving” months, I usually focus on work, and this month was crazy work-wise. I had been engulfed in projects and it hasn’t been easy, but this was also the month where we had a colleague from Brazil visit Manila, and it gave me the chance to play tour guide for a day, as we took her around Binondo to sample some good dimsum, and then to see Manila’s historical sites.
March also went by with not a lot of buzz. I was trying to save for my first major trip at this point. My sister and I did go check out the Art in the Park held in Makati, which was held in Salcedo Park.
The second quarter of the year was a lot more exciting. In April, I went on my first major trip for the year. It was a trip to Bali, with a short side trip to Yogyakarta. Indonesia was a revelation to me. It was one country that I originally had no intention of visiting, but I’m glad I ended up seeing it anyway. The country is so much like my own that I could not help but compare them.
In June, my friends and I attempted to go to Nagsasa Cove in Zambales, but we ended up not reaching the cove. The weather was so bad that we got stuck in Pundaquit.
Immediately after I got back from Pundaquit, I grabbed my other backpack that was filled with business clothes and jumped on a plane to Hong Kong. I was lucky enough to have been sent to Hong Kong for a conference by the company I worked for, and I took advantage of my free time to see more of the city I first visited two years ago.
July found me in Singapore to visit my older sister before she got assigned to another country for her work. It was my first time in this concrete jungle, and having my sister as my host gave me a better idea of life in this very bustling metropolis.
The end of July was my birthday, and unlike the other years where I ran away on my birthday, this year, I spent it at home. It was a low-key celebration where my little sister indulged all my food cravings with me. Birthdays are good. I love birthdays … And food. I love food.
September found me in one very bittersweet trip. Sydney was a city I had never planned to visit. I had booked the trip on an impulse to visit a man I’ve been seeing on and off for the past year. While the first few days had been happy, the trip ended with me heartbroken on the plane ride back to Manila.
The last quarter of the year was me trying to get back on track, and I did it the best way I knew how – I traveled.
In October, I finally went on a trip that I had on the books for more than a year. I visited the beautiful country of Japan. It is one of my favorite trips to date. I almost didn’t go to Japan, but I’m glad I pushed through with that trip. The country and my experiences exploring it reminded me why I started traveling in the first place. I think I lost track of those reasons for a while, but I’m glad I got it back.
In November, I was able to visit Beijing on a trip with one of my closest friends. As someone who has traveled solo a lot for the past three years, having someone who is a good friend with me on that trip made me realize how much more different, not to mention fun, trips like this can be.
December is the holiday season, and again I found myself immersed in the holiday prep. I really love this time of the year. It puts me in such a happy mood.
2014 went by so quickly. There’s so much that happened at work, in my personal life, and on my travels. I remember starting 2013 setting myself a goal to visit at least three countries, and here I found myself having visited six. Two of which were part of my original goal, four that were unplanned.
Even if some parts of the year had been challenging, I can’t deny that I’ve been lucky. Looking back on the year and the events that happened and the places I’ve been just reminded me how much.
Tomorrow is a new year. Anything can happen.
‘I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’