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On Word-Traveling and Checking Papers on the Beach

DSCN9629 It was a Tuesday. A poetry reading at a dear poet friend’s garden got canceled. I got a Tuesday, a weekday, at my disposal.  I packed and left the city at ten in the morning to visit down south. Trips as random as this—that has been my life for the past five years. To book as many, as random flights as possible. To squeeze a trip to a neighboring island midweek. To not care about work schedule. To have the audacity of disappearing from work for more than a week in a monthly basis. To have a beach, grassland for a workplace. To always have a job waiting no matter how long I’ve gone away. Life. My life. My lovely life. The almost perfect life for an odd mix of an introvert and extrovert that is me:  the Philippines to explore, and a library, a garden, an office, and cats to come back to. DSCN9622 But I did something drastic. Awesomely drastic. My almost nonexistent readers ( I really do hope I have or two) here on BWAB can tell I have a lifelong affair with literature, with poetry, with words, with anything creative. It has been a dream to share this love with others.  And one of the tested ways to share this love is to prance, dance, talk, be giddy about it inside a classroom. It has always been a dream, but I did not chase it. Because traveling is, can be such a jealous, possessive lover. The Philippines feeds my hunger for stories, for experience, for the odd, for the unfamiliar, for the not-home, for movement, for ex-stasis, for in-transits, for transience. Yes, I did something drastic. I placed myself in a position too intimidating for me especially the grade computing part. I suck at math, at anything that requires counting more than 10! I suck at time management. I always have my math wrong: a misstep on the calculation somewhere. Yes, that includes love as well. DSCN9630 I wonder how I will ferry inside the classroom, in the sea of intelligent, kindred souls at University of the Philippines. Because the ferrying that I have been doing these years necessitates a real boat or ship combating an actual tumultuous sea. Starting this Monday, my seas, my adventures will be condensed in metaphors, bottled in words, in poetry, in essays. Isn’t that lovely? So this is not a hiatus from traveling really except from the truth that I will be wearing my spartan slippers less. DSCN9633 This is a different form of wanderlusting—the one that requires a great deal of neurons, the one that requires endless page-crossings,  the one that requires wedges and flats (personal preference!), the one that needs bridging, the one that definitely feeds the heart, the soul, the mind, the one that questions and seeks answers. Isn’t traveling always like that? I expect typhoons, unpaved roads, holes, floods, and other disasters and misadventures imaginable in the class. It will be boring if there is none. I expect my class to be a boat, a bus, a plane of seekers of sorts: of knowledge, of happiness, of awesomeness, of metamorphoses, of love (why not?), of romance (again, why not!). I will be commuting with them. I will rock the boat once in a while if noone has done it yet for me. I or someone else might intentionally navigate the plane in an uncharted route. The bus ride will be bumpy and adventurous for sure. DSCN9635 But you know what I’m really excited about aside from reading and redefining my must-read list and writing what really matters? Checking papers on the beach down south.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at Find me somewhere else!

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  1. hana says:

    can i know the name of your secret beach? is that in santander? 🙂 hihi i love your writing. you’re my favorite cebuana travel blogger. keep keep writing ^_^

  2. Celine says:

    Hi, Ms. Jona!

    This post, and your blog in its entirety, is awesome!

    I, too, have an incurable case of the Wanderlust and am hopelessly in love with words. And like you, I have, very recently, chosen a career in the Academe.

    I found that adventures take on many different forms. It’s all just a matter of perspective. 😉

    Can I tag along in one of your backpacking adventures? I’m serious. I’ll sing you my songs and you can read me your poetry.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Cheers to the next adventure!

    Celine of

    • Why not Celine! Wow, it’s great to find a soul who shares the same passion on traveling and literature. All my trips are not final yet. I’m supposed to round southern Luzon for two weeks in November, but I guess I have to postpone it till December during school break! Hahaha! You’re always welcome to join one of my trips! 😀

      • Celine says:

        I’ll hold you to that, Ms. Jona. I WILL come with you on one of your adventures. The southern Luzon trip sounds great. Speaking of, our family owns a humble house in Sorsogon. 🙂

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