The Problem with Being Away From Home

Friday, April 19, 2019

A month ago, I came back from my birthday trip in Siargao and Manila. I feel rejuvenated staying in the Philippines for a week. Although my ideal tita vacation is very simple and domesticated (such as locking myself in my pad, grocery shopping at SM Hypermarket, and getting a full body massage at Nuat Thai), I haven’t done anything to pamper myself.

coconut trees and beach
Magpupungko Beach, Pilar, Siargao
Right after Siargao, I had to run errands for 3 days straight in Manila. I barely had time to stay at my own place (my first big investment), which made me feel a bit miserable (to be honest) by the time I hopped on the plane back to Singapore.

It’s funny how just barely 2 years ago, I wanted to get out of my daily routine which included my usual route to and from work. It felt suffocating to go through the everyday commute and the feeling of frustration due to the country’s slow progress, mostly brought about by corruption and undisciplined countrymen. But whenever I come home, I always wish I could have an extra day or two, a few more hours to stay, a bunch of close friends to meet.

When I came home in my condo unit in Manila, there was a toilet leak that needs to be fixed, food and cooking aids that need to be disposed, and just a massive general cleaning that needs to be addressed. I’ve been putting off general cleaning for months, just because of the tight schedule but I feel like I need at least 3 full days just to stay at home when I come back. As to when that’ll happen, I don’t know.

coconut trees and river
Maasin River and the Popular Coconut Swing
Being away from home means getting closer to my dreams by widening my work experience, credentials, and at the same time, earning more so I can save for the present and the future. While this sounds promising, I couldn’t escape the fact that some things at home will become old and dusty. And if I don’t revisit such things, like memories, they will become old and dusty, too.

The problem with being away from home is when you become too busy chasing the dream and too busy to look behind the steps you’re leaving. Sometimes I get so focused with the end-goal in mind, not realizing the steps I had to go through accidentally crushes feelings and relationships.

The problem with being away from home for too long is you’re afraid to come back and land on solid ground again. It’s too difficult to climb all the way up, but all too easy to spiral downwards. On the other hand, finding your way back home means you’ve seen what there is in that far-fetched dream and you’re ready to be embraced by that all too familiar comfort zone again.

beach view with boat, plants, and coconut trees
Siargao Sunrise
I’m staying in the middle and I still have room to grow. At the same time at the back of my mind, my heart yearns for the home I’ve left so quickly. How convenient it is to be in two places at the same time. How lucky are those who can fly back whenever they want.

And how courageous Filipinos can be when they reached the pinnacle of their life and still decide to come back to motherland. But for what? For the familiar sound, the familiar air, the old and dusty place called home.

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