Traveling light

Because I finally decided to create the blog, I have unearthed some notes and pictures I collected over the past two years which were meant to be blog content. The writings are few; some found their way to my Facebook page, while others are unfinished and unprocessed thoughts. There are lessons here somewhere, so do read on.

NAIA Terminal 2

July 21, 2019

I am writing this in the middle of sheer and intense self-inflicted exhaustion traveling from Manila to Iligan and then on to Marawi at Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Putting off writing it will make me forget the feeling and I do it now, thankful for the empty charging tables and unoccupied electrical sockets at NAIA. 

This isn’t my first trip to anywhere, and certainly not my last, given the back-to-back trips that somehow found their way to my otherwise uneventful social and professional calendar. But I still wonder why I never have seemed to learn my lesson. How to travel light when you need to be mojo (mobile journeyer)?  I am bringing laptop and charger, camera and charger, recorder and charger, phones and chargers, documents, a book I thought to put in my carry-on, in case I would have the time or the inclination to read it, plus cosmetic case, and hard drive.

This feeling of utter exhaustion came the moment I took a deep breath to carry the laptop bag into the bus terminal while waiting for my ride to the airport. The checked-in bag was a breeze compared to it, and something I would be lugging only a few times. But the carry-on felt like a rock and me Sisyphus pushing the weight of what will be my world in the next few days. 

The carry-on was stuck to me, never left my sight and my side. It was with me while I ate my lunch, while I used the lavatory, while I decided to use it as a pillow and grab some shuteye because truly, I am tired. But sleep eluded me. Actually what eluded me was the comfortable position to settle in for a nap because that is practically impossible in this airport! At some point, I thought of buying a pillow for the one-and-a-half-hour flight, and since I talked myself out of that I thought of buying myself donuts instead.

But good sense prevailed. I decided to be productive with my time. First I took out my cell phone and wrote up the early thoughts that led to this piece. And then I decided to sit at the empty table right in front of me, the one with at least seven electrical sockets for gadget owners to use. I thought of actually doing some work, but then I told myself I was not yet psyched up for that. I know I left a ton of work undone, but with this exhaustion I have already mapped out in my mind exactly when in my calendar I will work on my pending tasks.  

Looking back to last night when I was packing, I realize I should been a ruthless editor editing my belongings, deleting, moving, cutting out.  In the midst of all the tutorials available, all the how-tos, and advice blogs on making travel easy, I’m not learning. I peep into my carry-on bag and see the spare eyeglass case, the clip-on eyeglass case, the small bottle of cold meds, and I think already there’s three I could have taken out to make by bag a little lighter. 

Fast forward to April 2021, and I haven’t set foot in an airport in more than a year. The traveling light conundrum seems irrelevant at a time when most people are stuck at home and travel is no longer a priority, unless for livelihood, business or some such thing. We all saw how air travel hastened the spread of coronavirus and people are now more cautious.

But still. I think of traveling light and what comes to me now is the thought of doing away with heavy baggage, actual or metaphorical, whatever journey we find ourselves in. We travel with baggage–physical, mental, psychological, emotional–those we choose to bring along even if non-essential and even if we know they slow us down. Packing for travel must be deliberate. We bring only what we need and forget the rest, for the duration of the trip, at least.

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