On the Road Again

Thursday, November 21, 2013

“The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.” – William Least Heat Moon

Hey there, It's me again, Lois.

It's been 9 months since I shared my last personal post. A couple of months since I talked about my short-term goals. So much has changed since then and I feel I owe you guys an update.

Last February, I began a life-changing experiment of being homeless and finding ways to sustain a location independent lifestyle. And I promised to share with you everything I've learned from the experience.

For the umpteenth time, I had packed my life into a backpack and set off to Baler on what was supposed to be a short pause before another big adventure.

Baler was a beautiful trap. My initial plan to stay for a month turned into almost 9 months!

But it's easy to see why. Locals treated me like a local. I shared the lineup with happy, generous and genuinely warm surfers who always cheered me on when I paddled for a wave. I got a chance to be part of the Secret Spot and Charlie Does family and met so many unforgettable people from all over the world. I even gathered enough courage to join my first surfing competition.

It was a joy to be able to surf almost every day and live by the sea. 

Living in Baler has taught me so much about living simply. I had arrived with only a 7KG backpack and my surfboard Fuego. I've learned that I can survive on less than 500 PHP (about 12 USD) a week- the cost of a single meal in a fancy restaurant in Manila! But I've never felt deprived with surviving on less. I could have lived there forever in a small nipa hut that I would call home. But where is home for people like us who are constantly tormented by this gnawing feeling that we just don’t belong anywhere?

I had to hit the road again. 

I got that window of opportunity early this month when I was one of the speakers for the Asian Women's Empowerment Conference in Kuala Lumpur. It was overwhelming to be in the company of successful women (and men) from all over the world who had come together to share their stories of empowerment. I learned that despite class, religion or ethnicity, people can come together with the sincere and selfless intention of inspiring and helping others succeed.

Right before I left for Malaysia, I had been toying with the idea of long term travel again. I got the all too familiar sense of restlessness and post-travel depression. You know, that feeling you get when you're looking through your Facebook feed and it's filled with endless images of your friends' smiles in Delhi, Saigon, Paris, Seychelles and who-knows-where-else.

And you couldn't help but sigh: "That should be me." 

Or when you're looking through albums of yesteryears of the monk in the train, or that dude from Spain, or that drunken photo of you with a bunch of drenched hippies at the Songkran. Then you find yourself spending hours browsing through travel blogs and budget airfare sites with the urgency and panic of a shopaholic at a mall sale.

The need to travel becomes unbearable.

And so here I am, typing this at a friend's apartment in Bangkok. I had just come from a 22 hour train ride from Butterworth, Malaysia after spending a week in the beautiful, historic city of Penang.

"What's the plan?", you ask.

And I answer you with a definitive and resounding: "None whatsoever."

I have only my backpack, passport, some cash, friends and contacts from all over the world.

Let's see how far this rabbit hole goes.

Have you ever gotten on a plane with no definite plan or final destination? Share your story in the comment below!

Bangkok Bumming,
Sole Sister Lois

Main image credit: gustaffo89

Lois has traveled extensively and has called the USA, Germany, Switzerland and the Philippines home in various stages of her life. When she's not having adventures around the globe, she can be found surfing, surfing someone's couch or giving talks, workshops and retreats. She is a certified Passion Test facilitator who believes that people can find what they love and make a living from their passions. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of wearesolesisters.com.

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