Thoughts in a hotel room in Cebu

1/23/15 Cebu City Philippines

I sit here in my hotel. A couple of days into a work-binge. Days spent resting, nights spent working. Room service and smokes. I will spend another few days doing this, or maybe another week on top of that. We shall see. I haven’t written anything in a while. I’ve been too busy doing the travelling and meeting people. I thought at one point, before I left the US, that I would write about everything that happened. I realize now that was a fools fancy. There are only a couple of stories that stand out now as deserving their own pieces of writing. I will write them, but for now I just relax and think about the Philippines.

I’ve been here for about six weeks now. I have a couple of weeks left on my visa before I need to renew. I’ve spent all of this time on Cebu island, and a large portion in Cebu City. I’ve made friends here, both locals and travellers. Most of the travellers are gone now, and I’m cordoned off and the locals probably assume I’ve left as well.

I’ve isolated myself right now so I can do a substantial amount of work and not be distracted by friends and fun. I think of my friends that I’ve met here. Jelmer, the dutch engineer, who I went through Southern Cebu with and who’s back in China now. Felix, the young Swede, who is back to finish his school. Teal, the Swedish manager, who is back after holiday. Hao, the Vietnamese software engineer who lives in LA, who is down in Australia diving. Maikel, the Dutch tour guide, who is on a Buddhist retreat in either Thailand or Vietnam right now. Shantae, the American diver, who is probably off looking for the next great shark dive. Nana, and Bella/Jaekun who are both back home now. Junior and Phillip, the Philippino couch surfing hosts that I met at a beach party and who let me and my friends stay with them and cooked us food. Keith and Emmett, the Irish backpackers that are now in Thailand before heading to Cambodia and Vietnam. Rafa, the Spanish expat who lives in Malapascua with Joon-Joon who owns the hostel Villa Sandra, one of the coolest places I’ve ever stayed. Shaira and Farieza the former of whom I think is in Indonesia, and the latter who is back home after her brief but tumultuous holiday. I think of my friends and how when you travel you make fast friends, but they leave just as fast. Technology helps, but is no substitute for long slow talks over fast beers and laughter. I could keep naming people for paragraphs, but it would just touch the people I’ve met.

It’s funny how people say travelling changes you. I’m not sure I believe that. I think I’m still basically the same guy I was before, but I have a better grasp of who that is. I find myself not worrying as much about who I am, or what I’m doing. I still worry some, about money, and my health. The money thing is actually one of the primary reasons I’m putting in so much time on working right now.

I know that I’m lucky to be able to work while I travel, as people so often tell me. It’s most traveller’s dreams, but it has it’s downsides as well. Staying up for midnight conference calls while everyone else is at a bar, or a party. Taking a week off to put in 40 hours on a project, and not being able to really let go of things back home. Letting problems percolate in your subconscious so that you can deal with them at a later date. I suppose that these are the realities that we deal with so that we can travel right? I don’t begrudge them, because my work, and the company that generously lets me work this way, make my travels possible.

As my friends enjoy pointing out to me, I’m not good at saving money, but I am good at my work. My skills allow me to continue my travels without having to leave the US with as much money as most people travelling for an extended period of time generally do. I’m grateful for that, and I need to get back to it now. Until later.

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