SAN FRANCISCO, CA—October is my birth month, and more often than not, over the last several years, it’s always been a month for learning and adventure.
I learned to love the beauty of solitude many Octobers ago, when I set out on a solo trip for the very first time in the fall and cocooned myself in a quiet place, far from the noise, a place where I could discern more and hear myself better.
Pico Iyer, in his essay “Why We Travel,” writes, “Thus travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty.”
I’ve learned much about myself and gained deeper insights into people and the world whenever I set out on a trip alone. I become a better parent, friend, daughter and co-worker when I return from a solo trip energized and inspired by the solitude and the time spent with real friends whose bonds know not time nor distance.
I’ve just arrived in San Francisco, on the first leg of this October adventure. Leaving behind a rainy Manila, tonight’s flight was quite memorable in the strangest ways. For one, it will probably earn a place in my journals as perhaps one of the most turbulent flights I’ve been on, no thanks to the many weather disturbances we must have encountered while traversing the Pacific Ocean.
Props to our PAL pilot, Capt. Jimmy Aherrera, who steered our plane in the best way that he could. We were “rocking” gently in the skies for the most part of our 12-hour journey.
Plane rides are always great metaphors for life’s journey. During turbulent times on a plane, I always fish out my wooden holding cross and keep it snug in the palm of my hand. I close my eyes and imagine how our Father keeps the aircraft safe in His arms as it navigates the winds, which only He can silence, and the potholes in the clouds that He steps on. When I know that our Father steers the hand of my pilot, I can let go, lose my fear and fall asleep.
Just as we do in life, we are able to ride out the turbulent times (though admittedly, there are those moments when we wonder how much longer they will last!) when we are confident in our Divine captain.
Travel is like falling in love. Each trip is unique as we find new vistas and experiences to fall in love with again and again. No matter how old we are, we must never lose the wonder. And Iyer once again describes so perfectly his reasons for traveling: “All the great travel books are love stories, by some reckoning—from the Odyssey and the Aeneid to the Divine Comedy and the New Testament—and all good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder.”
And it is always in the midst of terror and wonder that you are able to discover new strengths to take back home with you when the journey is over.