A Christmas Wish

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Long time ago, I had nurtured a dream to travel the world and write about my backpacking adventures. But as years passed, I lost track of my dream and buried it away just like other secret Christmas wishes. Maybe Santa Claus and his reindeer were as mythical as the Christmas folklore or maybe I was too innocent to believe in them. The fact remains that when we live in our own utopian world, we rarely make conscious efforts to reconcile it with the hard realities of life.

This probably explains the endless wait for Santa to secretly fulfill my wishes all these years. But with growing up, I realized that we have to become our own Santa sometimes if we want to keep the magic of Christmas alive. So with the start of the second quarter of life, I decided to revive the old dream and took on the journey to the secluded archipelago of Philippines with the intent to bridge my world with reality. The bridge seemed a little wobbly at the start, but with each step I could feel my fears wither away as courage made its way.

As a writer, one is expected to have the natural art of transforming emotions and thoughts into a melody of words. To be honest, all throughout the journey, I was jotting down my delirious thoughts to build a story. But when I eventually started working on it, for the first time I was rendered short of words for what I experienced. I could feel so many hues of emotions – gratitude, happiness, and solace all at once. I felt at home when I swam with fishes, explored the secret lagoons, joyously swung on the beach, and experienced the warmth of sunset. Closeness to nature was so overwhelming that I think I will not be able to justify the moments of joy by etching them into words. So I would want to safely keep this experience in my magical trunk of memorabilia.

While I may be short of words, I cannot thank enough the people I met during this journey. Be it my wonderful French host in El Nido or the lovely Filipino family who shared the scenic island drive or my co- travelers from Netherlands, US and Chile who kept me engaged in delightful conversations during snorkeling tour or my fellow hosteler from Brazil who warmly expressed his love for India or the honest and jovial local guide who taught me to pronounce “Mabuhay”, all of them reinstated my belief that the world is indeed a beautiful place!

And for the incapacity to describe my experience this time, I hope these few shots by the novice photographer would explain the reason for the loss of words.

PS- I still believe in the magic of Christmas and I hope to meet Santa someday. Till then, I am happy to be my own Santa and will continue to surprise myself by fulfilling all the past and future Christmas wishes!

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