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lucid thoughts    traveling

Of Being Homeless by Choice May 13, 2009

Of Being Homeless by Choice: Mar 7 - May 13, 2009

Midway into the Empath Yoga Certification Program, the call to leave Sagada for good came knocking. The open road beckoned. It was initially unsettling, but I removed the concept of 'home' from my vocabulary...or perhaps changed it into a more mobile one. Empath Yoga renewed my verve for the unforseen encounters around the bend. I wanted to unshackle myself from any attachment that might impede whatever change that needed to happen as a result of the paradigm shift. Upon completion of the program, I packed my stuff and stored them at a friend's house. I only carried with me whatever I could squeeze into my backpack.

Backpacking Mindanao
My first stop was Cagayan de Oro (CDO), doing my standard fare of sniffing around for the best regional dish, cheap lodging, and interesting events. That was followed by a ferry ride to Camiguin where I attempted to climb Mt. Hibuk-Hibuk, explored the snorkeling spots and feasted on the abundant (read: fresh and cheap) seafood. I then took the long daytrip to Iligan just to catch Tinago Falls. Though not as high as Maria Christina Falls (at 98 meters, the country's highest waterfall), locals normally regard Tinago as the more majestic.

Backpacking Bicol
After a couple days' stop in Manila, I was again off for Bicol...the fabled land of Mayon Volcano, whale sharks, pinangat (more popularly known as Laing) and the spicy Bicol Express. With my base in Legazpi, I visited the ruins of Daraga, swam with the whale sharks of Donsol, snorkeled the hidden reefs of Sto. Domingo and partied into the night at the Camsur Watersports Complex in Naga, CamSur - the newest addition to the tourism trail.

Backpacking Subic
I also made a short trip to Subic Bay to be with my yogic friends, Dunia and Carlo. Making the most of my time there, I played with the dolphins, attended a workshop by a caucasian Shaolin monk, snorkeled at a nearby reef and enjoyed dinner by the beach with the Jordana yogis.

Spiritual Junkie
After the 2-week Empath Yoga workshop, I found myself on a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation followed by a full day spiritual workshop in Subic. Needless to say, it was intense and I needed to decompress. While they all had different methodologies, they were all saying the same thing: consciousness is everything...we create our own reality...very few things are impossible.

People's Orbit
Unlike my last foray into homelessness, I didn't bother sending out an email for adoption. I simply put the word out with friends and people I was with that I was open. Except for one night, I always found a good samaritan. At times, it would be a person I just met that day. With friends and acquaintances, I found quality time mostly on a one on one basis. What was on the perimeter actually had a chance to happen.

There was a memorable night when no one adopted me. I spent the entire night hopping from one 24-hour fastfood chain to another...coke float at McDonalds, hot drink at KFC, etc. until sunrise. I'm amused at having done that. However, I'm not sure if I want to keep doing that.

The interesting thing was, while I was technically homeless and simply paying for my night's lodging as I backpacked the country, I didn't feel the spectre of homelessness...until I stayed in Manila. I've always been ambivalent about this place - the high cost of living which depletes my resources faster than I could earn them, the air quality (I always carry with me an air-mask), the short fuse people have (or maybe it's me having a short fuse here), etc. But then again, this is where I hang out with friends, lots of events are happening, and there's always something up in the air.

UPM Outdoor Events
As much as I can help it, when in Manila, I would get involved with UPM activities. I joined 2 of their Talikasan events - Potipot and Marinduque. I also participated as birdwatcher when UPM was invited to celebrate Baler's 400th anniversary. One thing I can say, UPM knows how to have fun.

Social Challenges
Despite best efforts to stay cool with everyone as in, "I'm ok, you're ok", I had to deal with a hand-shaking, shoulder patting 'friend' who stick it to me behind my back...the damaging email (which thankfully landed on my lap) said it all. It's funny how the show Survivor pales in comparison to the cloak-and-dagger duplicity that happens in real life. Sure, I'm pissed, but really, what the heck for? Anyone who gravitates at that level essentially wallows in his own hell hole. I just move on thankful I know better about this guy...another life-lesson I tuck under my belt.

I used to deplore the pay toilets of some malls, touting the P10 fee as elitist. Now however, as a drifter with no home to unload the call of nature, I literally went out of my way for those pay lounges. For P10, I get a clean, well maintained toilet where I can take my time and still have toiletries to dispense with...priceless!

As a web designer, I draw life from the internet. Without it, I feel cut-off from the virtual world. Again, having no office or home, I was at the mercy of the internet cafes, most of which do not have laptop accommodations. Gateway Mall is a good choice with its mall-wide free wifi...but there's no electrical outlet. After 2 hours, I'm toast. Burger King and Max's usually have free wifi...but how many burgers/chickens can you eat in a day? Wifi access with electrical outlet remained a serious challenge.

A Turtle with his House
Without the certainty of a roof at the end of the day, I usually bring everything I need with me - clothes, toiletries, mess kits, laptops, etc. They get to be heavy and bulky at the end of the day. The constant unstrapping (for inspection) whenever I enter a mall or the MRT can get annoying. The packed rush-hour people traffic makes my backpack a detrmental drag. I'm not bitching...just being mindful of the challenges.

Ending Thoughts
What struck me during my travels was...I could indefinitely do this. I mean, I can stay in one place, and stay there for as long as it works out. When it gets old, I can move on to the next town or village. I can then stay there overnight, or a doesn't matter how long, the operative word being, "it still works out". Everyday brings promise of new things to discover, new dishes I could sink my teeth into, meeting new people with a story to tell, etc.

By doing that, the conventional concept of home no longer exists. Home now becomes where I lay my backpack at the end of the day. Family now becomes the people I break bread with...and my playground is now the varied landscape that lay before me.

However, it's not readily viable for now. Life threw in a few pleasant curve balls. Given all the circuitous route I've taken, I find myself full circle back in Manila renting out a small space I now call home. Now, after being on the road for a little over 2 months, I'm beginning to see why I had to leave Sagada. The possibilities and opportunities that await me here would not have happened had I not left. I'm shifting into lower gear trying to be mindful of the subtle nuances surrounding my once-familiar landscape - a landscape I thought I already turned my back against. The tsunamic change I anticipated after Sagada is perhaps making its way but in slow gentle measures...and in ways I could not have anticipated.

For now, or at least up since May 13, I hang my lonerider cap and kiss my yakapmate days goodbye. The Flow has taken me into someone else's loving arms and together, we explore the world around us. Life is full of surprises and every bend on the road brings promise of new beginnings.

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

"wag nga daw sabihin identity!"
(Jul 31, 2009) e sila naman na a. hahahahaha! =)

"tapos tingnan nyo ito'ng Flirty Conversation"
(Jul 31, 2009) aba ibuko b? wag nga daw sabihin identity! haha

"Gigit's gf is GG - goddess girlfriend!"
(Jul 31, 2009) tapos tingnan nyo ito'ng Flirty Conversation. ito ang early days ng kanilang ligawan. maaliw, mamangha at mainggit. =) peace, gigit! =)

"huy may GF na si Gigit!!!"
(Jul 31, 2009) Gigit's gf is GG - goddess girlfriend!

(Jul 31, 2009) huy may GF na si Gigit!!! Introduce her to us naman... maybe i should organize another Sit and Eat! This time let's eat at my resto again!

(Jul 31, 2009) I am amazed and in awe of your life and the path you have taken. You are an epitome of a person who is fully alive and in the flow. I need no longer wish you - and goddess girlfriend - happiness because you already have it. =)

(Jul 31, 2009) I like! :)

(Jul 30, 2009) Ayos!

(Jul 30, 2009) oh wow is she the lady you were telling us?

(Jul 29, 2009) please say hi to her from me... =)

Elsie Yang
(Jul 29, 2009) wow!! great news!!!

Sherry Evans Foster
(Jul 29, 2009) Go Gigit! Sending you hugs!

Tony Ancheta
(Jul 28, 2009)'ve really practised your literary craft - nicely written, bro. 2nd thought, your life's journey reminds me of the movie Into The Wild. Life indeed is a series of choices and you've certainly made yours - a free spirit in all its context. By the end of the day, whatever choice we've made or the life we live, the important thing is we expand and be better than what we were before. God bless bro.

(Jul 27, 2009) i usually "hold office" at greens, a vegetarian resto on scout castor. good food, free wifi and sockets to use!!!

(Jul 25, 2009) Thank you for sharing this story. I read it and found quite a bit that resonated with me. That's about all I get, a bit of resonance. If this intriguing possibility (teaching in China) does come to pass it opens up another interesting one (probably many); that I might actually manage to see you in person again. That would be great. :) Namaste my friend, namaste

Lyn Jose
(Jul 25, 2009) Hi, Mr. LoneRider no more! I feel so lighthearted after reading your post. It feels like watching a drama movie w/a very happy ending! Congratulations and good luck to all your endeavors!

(Jul 24, 2009) I just read the article you posted in your site. Seems like a lot of changes happened...your adventures are never ending. Let me know when you have time for some catching up. :)

Jim Ward
(Jul 24, 2009) ...enjoyed catching up!

Aunt Neneng
(Jul 23, 2009) We open Thelonerider now and then so we saw the pics and read your exploits right after you posted it. Thank you for guesting us in your site. Here's wishing you good health and safe journeys. God bless you...

(Jul 22, 2009) Home is where you make it.

(Jul 22, 2009) nice! you're welcome to stay with me anytime you find yourself homeless again ;)

i experienced this a couple of months back, living on just one backpack and struggling to find a home. mahirap pala siya pero your true friends will find a way to help you through it. i enjoyed my two-week stay at alyx and pen's house, although i was turning into a house pest, which cannot be avoided given the duration of time i was there. that said, it was quite an adventure, but i'm glad i found temporary permanence (haha) in my current place now.

see you around and give her my love! :)

(Jul 22, 2009) aww... hihi congrats! :) hey, try the robinson's malls:pioneer, galleria and malate for wi-fi access :) gloria jean's coffee shops also have wi-fi and sockets :) at least in coffee shops, you can spend the whole day/night :)

(Jul 15, 2009) I'm happy for you my friend. Everyone deserves love but I've never known anyone that has taken the long ride you have.

(Jul 8, 2009) Yahooooooooo !!!! Congrats to both of you. I'm so happy you're over the yakapmate stage.

Christina Aben
(Jul 5, 2009) ...wonderful to hear from you and know you are enjoying life. you sound healthy as well and young! you deserve all these and more, and as you go on this journey, i pray the Lord will guide you on a meaningful path. let me congratulate you and your friend! blessings to you both.

Dr. Clare Lalwet
(Jul 4, 2009) Wonderful, wonderful!! That's great! I'm happy for you, brother. Things do happen for a reason, even if at the moment we don't understand it yet, but have faith that it is all part of the divine plan for us. Take care and cherish the moments. Regards to your special someone.

(May 18, 2009) I'm so happy for the 2 of you. It reminds me how exciting and mind-blowing things can be at the beginning. Good luck, good vibe...I wish you more good times, growth, love, team work, patience...

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