Personal, Travel
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The Pleasure of Leaving

I flew in from Taipei 18 hours ago and I'm still not quite sure if I've righted myself just yet. There is no time difference between Manila and Taipei, but I found myself still awake at 4 a.m., still coated with sleep by the time I woke up at around 2 in the afternoon. I begged off work today because I didn't know if I could recover by the morning, and I guess it worked out because it's 9:40 p.m. right now, and I'm still chasing the kind of alert wakefulness that I imagine being at work requires.

I have a lot of things to do. My default response to an overwhelming to-do list is shutting down. It's not ideal, so I try to remedy this by constant internal pep talks and a bullet journal, constantly writing down reminders that I probably won't even look at later on. It's the act of writing down, a deliberate attempt at remembering, that matters to me.

I was thinking about “the pleasure of leaving,” a phrase I've used countless times to describe what it feels to just go away and disappear. I thought about why this phrase—something I nicked from a John Green novel, of course—was something that resonated with me so powerfully, and I realized the why on this last venture away from home. I felt completely anonymous—”just another lost soul,” I told my best friend—and instead of a rising panic in my chest, I felt a sense of peace. No one expects anything from me out there. No one even knows who I am. It's not like I have the biggest burden to bear, but I have enough resting on my shoulders to want to break free from at times.

Taiwan is an ideal place to get lost in. It's not that expensive, the people are pleasant, there are so many places to go. The lady we rented the place from, Donna, changed money for us in the middle of the street, insisting that it's safe. “This is Taipei,” she said, as though that was enough to convince us. It's hard to believe, coming from Manila where I'm always a little wary of standing on a strange street, but there had been no incidents of danger the entire time we were there, so I guess I'm a believer.

Flying back home is always bittersweet. As much as I love being away, I do get restless for home. Despite the feeling of displacement, being back home feels a bit like all your loose parts clicking into place. Perhaps I don't quite like myself entirely just yet, but a piecing back together seems like a good step before you rearrange yourself into someone who feels more like you, into someone you are happy being.

Anyway. I was just thinking.