Sneak peak of our recent trip to France. What an amazing trip that was! Spending time with Matt’s family, a quick reunion with my favorite people, seeing my bestfriend walk down the aisle, seeing new places, eating great food and drinking world class wine. Definitely one of the best trips of my life.
Aside from great wine and sophisticated food, France is also known for its quaint villages and medieval towns. The countryside has that distinct rustic quality that everyone loves; white washed buildings, colorful shutters, intricate details and the smell of freshly baked brioche just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s what the French countryside is all about and I have fallen head over heels with it. (maybe that’s why I’m with a Frenchie?) Just an hours drive north of Bordeaux is a charming, little city called Saintes. (Pronounced “SANT”)
Two and a half years ago, at age 26, I felt like I went through a midlife crisis or should I say a quarter life crisis? You might laugh and say I’m too young to have gone through one but I could not have felt more useless and purposeless with myself. First, my dad had just passed away and the grieving process was very long for me. It took a while before I got used to the new norm of waking up not hearing nor seeing him. I worked with him too so the office wasn’t much of an escape either. It was such a great loss and it took me a while to recover from that. I wanted him to be proud of me so I quit my real estate job to concentrate on his legacy, life insurance. Which leads me to the 2nd aspect of my “crisis”
I was working with a great life insurance company and I had all the support I needed after dad passed but I did not feel the connection or the passion one should feel. Not feeling a spark after working for 5 years in the company, I clearly knew I didn’t belong there. I may have looked the part of being successful but I was feeling very empty inside. As it was a self-managed job, many times I found excuses to not step foot in the office, I’d tell my managers “I have appointments today” but in truth I didn’t have anything better to do. In the end, I found my self just staring blankly at the creamy walls of my room and questioning my life in general. “is this it?” “there must be more to life than this!” It came to a point where even my friends would say I need help or that one person I turned to for everything would tell me “get your life in order!” or worse, “you’re an embarrassment to your dad’s name”. This leads me to the 3rd aspect…
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
Another one was my long-term relationship, which was in the rocks for a long time too. Because I was avoiding my work life, I spent more time with my boyfriend which led me to become a clingy, jealous and a whole lot of crazy girlfriend. It was already shaky to begin with and me being in this state was just making it worse than it already was. I invested more of my time in my relationship and I lost myself in the process. I thought I wanted more because I needed to feel more, I needed to feel “happy”, I didn’t even know what to do if I didn’t spend my time with him. My identity as an individual faded away because I allowed it to. I even refused to see how toxic the relationship was because I thought that going the next step would solve all our problems. Many times I would cry myself to sleep because I was just so lost and I felt unwanted and alone in my own relationship.
This emptiness I was feeling dragged on for months and months. I woke up one morning and the year was close to an end! I looked back on year 2014 and it was just a total blur. I had done nothing to improve my life at all. That Christmas season I received what I would describe as the best gift of all, my bestfriend gave me the key that restarted my life and that was a book by Paulo Coelho, THE ALCHEMIST. “I hope this book will clear your mind and guide you into finding meaning”, she said before handing it to me. True enough, it hit me and it hit me hard. I woke up one day feeling so energized and excited for what was to come. I had no idea what it was but I knew something exciting was about to happen to my life because I was going to make it happen.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
I had a clear vision of why I felt the way I did because I didn’t have a goal, I didn’t dream big. I let myself fall into the darkness of other people’s shadows, in other words, I settled. My brother and his girlfriend visited us that December from Australia and they knew what I was going through. One morning over breakfast, It just came out of no where and I said “I want to move to Australia”, that afternoon my brother went with me to an agency and the rest was history. I dreamed about moving and everything I did after that day just led me to achieve that. I was surprised because it seemed like the easiest thing to do. It’s funny how when you set your mind into something, and you want it so bad, “all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” . I felt reborn the moment I dreamed big. With that said, I quite my job, I broke up with my long term boyfriend, I did new things and I travelled. How I had the courage to do all these is a different story and I don’t want to bother you with details.
2015 came with more beautiful sunrises and the sunsets came with a promise of a better tomorrow. I did things that I never imagined doing like mountain climbing. It was a spontaneous decision to go with a group I hardly knew and spend 4 days in the mountain. I fell in love with it and I did that almost every weekend. It gave me a sense of nostalgia. I also got in touch with my creative side again by joining art classes and had a small art exhibit where I sold my work. I read more books, and joined wall climbing classes. These activities gave me time to soul search and rethink my life plans. It cleared my mind and my soul. In a way, it led me to become a stronger person because I saw myself in a different light. I was slowly becoming a better version of myself because I chose to be. I felt more at peace with my thoughts and I felt better. I couldn’t have gone through with this journey alone without my family and bestfriend who stayed with me by my side throughout the whole 6 months of restarting myself.
June 2015, the day I stepped foot in the airplane, I’ve never felt so happy with myself. It was once just a dream but I made it into reality and ever since, I’ve lived my life knowing I have endless possibilities ahead of me. and you know what? I’ve never felt homesick.
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
I now know why I needed to go through my quarter life crisis, I had to hit bottom to be able to rise up on my own. Like a phoenix reborn through their ashes. In doing so, I have become the me I’ve always wanted to be, I have learned what falling in love and staying in love truly is, I have become independent. I have grown more and learned more. I have found my my new home.
Some quotes from the Alchemist that put sense in my life
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
I couldn’t thank the people who helped me throughout this life changing journey, My mom who at first didn’t want it but supported me all throughout, my brother and sister in law who were there from the start, my sisters who encouraged me and gave me shelter when I moved, my bestfriend, Kat, who gave me the book and stood by my side every step of the way and to everyone else who were my crying shoulder.
Growing up, one of my favorite movies was The Lion King. The scene where Simba found Mufasa helpless on the ground after the stampede makes me cry buckets every single time. So you can imagine my excitement when I finally went on that African Safari. Being in the wild and seeing first hand how these untamed animals live is just beautiful.
I am stingy when it comes to tours so I wanted to do a DIY tour to Kruger Park but that whole shenanigan was too much. Renting a camper van, driving 7 hours from Johannesburg to Kruger Park, camping, figuring out where to eat and where to drive every day to see the animals just puts my head in. Another thing I considered was booking a private game drive in a lodge where you don’t have to think about anything because everything is at your service. (Hotel pick up, buffet breakfast, comfortable rooms, sunrise game drives with champagne and cheese – the dream, right?) The view of the room will be the park and if you get lucky, you’ll have elephants greet you in the morning or when you’re bathing in their spa, a giraffe will pop by and say hello. But these were way over our budget! I even considered sleeping in one of the tree houses so I can have a romantic night under the stars with lions roaring in the dark and who knows what else will be creeping up on you while you sleep. All these were just a bit too lavish for me though. After weeks of researching, my uncle suggested a tour that just hit the spot! It was the perfect one for us and was just exactly what I was looking for, a 4-Day Classic Kruger Park Safari Package.
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve last written. My apologies to my readers – I hope I haven’t lost your interest. Where do I even start? Since my last post about South Africa, my life has changed dramatically. My entire year in a nutshell is composed of peeing on a stick (it showed two faint pink lines), hormones (lots of it), quitting work, suspending school and VOILA! Came a beautiful baby boy. Yes, I have been busy with motherhood, which will be a new section in my blog. Don’t worry guys, this post is not about the details of my precious boy (I will save that for later). Being a full time mom is difficult and satisfying all at the same time but it definitely will not stop me from doing what I love…travelling.
I haven’t been home in two years so I was really excited for this trip. I will be a tourist in my own country, why? Because I will be with my partner’s family who have not stepped foot in my beautiful country before and I will be their tour guide for the next two weeks. I was happy to show them how I lived my life before moving to Australia and immersing them in my culture. It was an amazing family reunion. So here’s our 2-week trip in Cebu City Continue reading “C’est Beau CEBU! “