26 November 2015

The Taste of Wild Freedom

Photo: www.eyeem.com/josephgoh

All I've dreamed this entire year was to be in Chiang Mai this exact night to watch a hundred lanterns fly into the night sky. But I was in a meeting in the city instead. This is not in any way a complaint, though. I am grateful. I am. Just this year alone, this job has brought me to places and people and moments beyond I could have ever imagined.

The big plan was to finally embark on my own nomadic adventure this year that would eventually end at Yee Peng, but the universe clearly had other ideas. Although I am admittedly a little disappointed, I try to shake the bad feelings away by reminding myself that things only unfold as they should. That the universe is a cosmic flow. And I am water.

When I think about the chancestwo flights to Thailand in just the past half a year I never got on and with another huge maybe waiting in the next monthit would seem that it just isn't the right time yet. For whatever reason that doesn't make sense yet, it seems Thailand is telling me to wait.

And so it is.

15 August 2015

Sights & Stardust

Hit play.

"This is the stuff of dreams!"

I remember exclaiming into the wind. Those around me to hear my professions of love for all these inanimate things laugh at my wide-eyed wonder. But in my head I laugh a little too, because I knew something they didn’t—nothing is inanimate. All things are life.

Everyone walks on ahead and I fall behind observing everyone and everything, like I always do when I travel. We had just spent the afternoon having piƱa coladas and ceviche by the beach, under a gorgeous white tent, sitting on blankets with pretty patterns, lanterns and driftwood scattered all around us; all the while waiting for the sun to descend into the sea. I’ve always thought this place to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in this country. No one seems to know. They don’t seem to believe when I tell them. But then again, perhaps this place doesn’t resonate with them like it does with me.

12 May 2015

Chapter 25: Onwards and Ever Upwards

Chapter 25: Onwards and Ever Upwards The Stillness in Moving Nicole Villaluz

Play this first.

~ CHAPTER 16 ~

My sister knocked on the bedroom door and told me to sit down.

My Papa had gone.

I was 16. Confused. Lonely. And angry. Very angry. So like any 16 year old, I dealt with my new reality the only way I knew how—I didn’t. I hid it under the rug.

I went from tormented to forgetting. No, no grieving. Just forgetting. Forgetting everything. I collected every little memory of him and buried it in a tight, dark room somewhere in a deep part of me. Kept it locked. Hidden. Never to be heard of, talked of, thought of. Never to be discovered.

I told myself that I had no right to grieve. After two years of suffering, almost completely bedridden, he was finally out of misery. At a better place where, I hoped, pain was just a word that didn’t hold any meaning. No more nights desperately trying to get sleep underneath the yells of him begging for the heavens to finally take him.

I was 16. And I was a deeply sad person.

27 April 2015

Soul, Sonder, and Quiet Beginnings

The Stillness in Moving Soul, Sonder, and Silent Beginnings Nicole Villaluz

"It's like the city has no soul."

This is what a German friend of mine disappointingly wrote to me a few days into staying in Kuala Lumpur. I've always wondered what he meant. Were the city lights not elating enough? Are the people not welcoming? Was there no bustling excitement that, at any given time, a funny fruit would just fall out of nowhere into your unsuspecting open palm? In Manila there's so much life, he tells me. I wondered even more.

The Stillness in Moving Soul, Sonder, and Silent Beginnings Nicole Villaluz

Many months later I found myself in a taxi ride wheeling at 100 kilometers an hour approaching this rumored soulless city. It was night time, and as we drove over a wide elevated part of the expressway, KL welcomed me with a wonderful parade of lights. A vast sea of stars from illuminated buildings stretched ahead of me, towered over by the spectacular sight that is the Petronas Towers. I know I haven't seen much, but at that moment I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. My two friends were asleep; the driver fixated silently on the road. I felt like the only person existing. I took it all in. Or it took all of me.