A lot of people commended me for being brave when it comes to travelling, but then there are the critics who call me ‘suicidal’. What am I, really? Am I brave? Am I suicidal? Well, maybe I am a little bit of both. Maybe.
To be quite fair, I have always been pretty cautious about my travel choices. I always try to do loads of research before embarking on another adventure. In doing this, I have a self-assurance that I know what I am doing, and that I know where I will be going to. Plus, it gives my family the assurance that they so often crave. It is a win-win situation, really.
What does it take for someone to be called ‘brave’? Do I need to be fearless in being myself or do I have to be really reckless when I am on the road?
To be quite honest, these comments usually come because of my travel destination choices. Where do I usually go, you ask? Well, I like to explore hidden gems and places that give my parents a heart attack. Ha! Like last year, I hitchhiked through Africa. In Turkey, I worked as a bartender. These places are beautiful spots, for sure! The people are superb as well. But coming from the Philippines, these are places where people do not usually think about going. Not my family members, at least. With these travel choices come a sense of bravery…but also recklessness, as some may say. Hence, myself being called suicidal.
This year, I am planning on doing my research through Latin America. I actually have gotten an extremely long message from my grandma how my love for exploration will eventually kill me in the end. Maybe? Maybe not? But I see no better way to go. To be quite fair, I am pretty much the safest person that you will ever meet. My friends would describe me as a good old ‘goody-goody’, and I hate breaking the law. Not that I ever have. So, I am far away from being suicidal.
My upcoming research in Mexico will help me gather data that will, hopefully, help women in Latin America and from all over the world. I think my brothers and cousins have seen way too much Narcos episode because that is the Latin America that they have pictured in their minds. But in my mind, I see the beautiful people, the vast landscape, and the richness of the culture. I am smiling just thinking about it, because I get so excited! Naturally, I have always been a firm believer of women and an avid supporter of women’s rights. So embarking on this adventure and research is such a thrill for me. Honestly, I hope that the time my family spends worrying and trying to get me to come home, is the time they spend being proud of me and the job that I am doing. Because it is not easy standing up for women, but it has to be done, and I am more than happy and willing to do it. Really, I am.
Being suicidal has nothing to do in my travel choices, nor my life, for that matter. I love life way too much to even think of such drastic thoughts. Quite the contrary, I am very much the opposite! I see this world as a safe haven for such a wandering soul like myself. Being with people who share the same passion for humanity as myself, makes me so happy! Seeing the wonders of the world that our God has created, it makes my heart full of joy. Because these places were by God to be explored and enjoyed with our own eyes.
In the end of my life, I would like to be able to look back in joy with a heart full of memories spent out there. I do not want to live a life of regret. A life of constant regret on not going on that particular trip, or doing that particular research, or just living my life to the fullest. I want to be able to know deep down that I did my best, and that I enjoyed every bit of it. Because, right now, that is what I am doing. That is also what I am planning to do for the rest of my life.
In the sense of assurance for my family, I told myself that I would travel until my desires well, until I am 25. Then I will go back to school. This past summer, I actually have been accepted to a summer program at Harvard University. It had been such an honour, and a privilege to be able to know that I am still an avid fan of the academe. I actually do not think that I will ever stop being a fan of the academe, because I love studying and learning so much! I can never give it up. For my research, I am hoping that this will lock me inside Harvard’s ivy covered walls, as a Master’s Candidate. I have yet to figure out what I am going to be studying, but I know deep inside that I want it to be related to Bachelor’s (which is creative writing) and my research (which is women’s studies). So we shall see in the near future!
Naturally, I do not think that my family will read this blog post. Because, frankly, I do not think that they care. But if they happen to do so, I hope that they know that I am doing this for them, for every women in the world, and for myself. It does sound cheesy, but that is the truth.
No, I am not suicidal. I just needed to clarify and get it out there, because I do get called that a lot. To be quite honest, I do not think that that word is even in my personal vocabulary. So, all is well. As for being brave, if wanting change and wanting to see the world and wanting to be a better person is considered ‘brave’. Then, I guess I am brave. I want to be brave, I really do. That is such a pretty word, is it not?
A couple of months ago, a former student of mine from Morocco reached out to me via Instagram. He said he got accepted for a program in Germany because he was one of the best English speakers in his school. Of course, I congratulated him because I could not be more prouder. He, then, proceeded to thank me for teaching him, and telling me I was the best teacher that he has ever had. That made my heart so glad. It really did.
If being brave is telling your mother that you are going to Morocco despite everyone saying that it is such a dangerous country, and eventually changing lives? Then I guess, I am brave. I will take brave any day. I will.
In the coming months and years of my life, I hope to continue being brave. I really do.
***For my upcoming research on how women are treated in Latin America, head over to Patreon for more details. CLICK HERE!
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!'”
Isaiah 6:8 NIV