I doubt I’ll get much sympathy by lamenting my upcoming lack of internet access (maybe a few weeks!). My friend Jon and I are currently holed up in Makati, Manila. The air-conditioned fried chicken joints, Starbucks and commercial high rises of Makati tempt you to overlook the fact that much of Manila’s 17 million inhabitants are living difficult lives a short walk away. Just last night we learned that many of the Jeepneys double as homes for entire families during the night. Ten thousand others who can’t find accommodation find shelter at the cemetery.
We’re preparing for a backcountry camping trip in the southern Philippines. Backcountry – maybe beachcountry is a more accurate term. We don’t really know what to expect, but our medical kit suggests that we’re aspiring to set up a new tropical pharmacy outlet.
Taiwan spoiled me with fast and widely available internet access. I collected memories, insights and adventures on the island, without having to get very far off the grid. Story ideas whirred around in my head, and still do. As my time came to a close in Taiwan, I shared the last week of it with my friend Joe, and blogging was far from my mind. Also, I procrastinate. My favourites will be posted in time, and although they won’t have the live-update appeal, it will be interesting to see which memories linger with me after letting them stew for a few weeks. I’m hoping to overcaffeinate myself for a few days in early February and catch up on Continental Drifter, a creative outlet I’ve come to enjoy very much.
We’re paring down our gear, and prioritizing fresh coffee beans over extra clothes, water purifiers over smartphones, tents over toiletries. Okay, I’m still bringing a lot of toiletries, and wet wipes. Among those left behind is my beloved iPad, which will be safety stored in my friend Nora’s apartment for the next few weeks (yeah girl, thanks!). Less to bring, less to lose.
For our first trick, we are (hopefully) boarding a cargo ship for a 19 hour overnight journey to Coron, in Palawan.
So it’s about balance. Balancing adventure and risk, balancing reflecting and sharing with experiencing, balancing goals with changes-of-plans, balancing time alone with time shared among friends. Not knowing when you’ll get a shower, but trying your damned hardest to make sure you at least have great coffee.