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.

24 January 2015

To Finally Finding It

Bastille Live in Manila

If it is right, it happens. Nothing good gets away.

If there is one greatest and life-altering thing that traveling has taught me, it is this: No matter how you plan, and no matter how these plans fail, you are always, always at the right place at the right time. The universe unfolds as it should, when it should, and how it should. It’s timing is impeccable. Trust it.

31 December 2014

The Truth About Wild Spirits & Wanderlust

The Truth About Wild Spirits and Wanderlust

We constantly feel out of place. In a world run by lethargic routines, we would often look around, watching people on the streets, in offices, in family gatherings, wondering how the rest of them get by everyday with such a breeze. Because in our heads thrive an unkindness—ravens flocking wildly all day long.

We are home, but we never quite feel at home. Because the road is where our hearts are, and where our hearts are, there is home. We are fishes out of water, holding our breaths until we can finally swim away again. Back into the wilderness where gypsies, nomads, drifters, and wanderers roam. With them will we feel a belonging once more.

25 November 2014

Urban Railroads & Grand Returns

This is a trip that tells stories of grand returns. A return to that first country I ever traveled to, a return of a dear old friend, a return to that state of being beautifully lost in a foreign land, and a return to feeling right at home, in the presence of like-minded strangers.

I should have seen the signs. For two months I had been feeling ridiculously sentimental and nostalgic about Hong Kong. I saw reminders of it everywhere. I read about it. I heard about it. I made friends with travelers from there. I even had the urge to suddenly write about it. And then one day, cleaning my room, I found an old wallet. The one I used on my trip there, and inside found 60 Hong Kong dollars. I was ecstatic. A few days after, I received a message from my old friend in Canada. She’s visiting Manila in two weeks and wanted to take a quick side trip to Hong Kong. She needed someone to go with her.

The next thing I know, I was landing in Lantau Island with a big, stupid grin on my face. And my favorite song was playing overhead.