Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"If it were me--- I`d have booked my flight to Manila yesterday..."

I`d be lying if I said that I sat in the corner crunching numbers, researching, or wondering if a volunteer stint in the Philippines was a realistic goal. The truth is--- the minute my eyes caught sight of the information presented on the eliabroad website for volunteer social work in the Philippines--- I had already made up my mind. Of course, being raised by deathgrip, I always feel the need to run my notions by the family first for reassurance. I get so caught up in my big ideas that I sometimes need someone from the outside looking in to evaluate it--- Though I had already decided that I would go ahead with the Philippines plan, my bro`s words to me served as reinforcement: "If it were me---I`d have booked my flight to Manila yesterday..." (sold!)

This morning, I excitedly sent away my credit card details for a deposit toward my volunteer stint to be withdrawn. Now, the organization will be busy making the necessary arrangements for my stay and work in the Philippines. I can`t wait to hear back from them with a departure date so that I can go ahead and book a flight and make it official! Though there is still much to be decided, I imagine I`ll book a return flight from Sydney. I may even leave behind my backpack and spend the four weeks living out of my daypack. I cannot wait to go back to the basics! (And like always--- the greedy traveler that I am--- I`m booking the Philippines and already thinking of where I`ll go next...)

I cannot even begin to describe to you just how amazing a feeling it is to be able to just wake up in the morning, look at a map, point out any place at all, and know that the sky`s the limit---- I can go anywhere I want--- anytime I want! Last night, a close friend of mine said that "success and happiness are dependent on how much money one has in their bank account. Without an adequate education--- an individual is a "nobody" " This person made it very clear that they were above us "poor backpackers" because they had more money in the bank than us. This statement absolutely enraged me! I felt like someone had reached in and ripped apart my insides... Gathered around an intimate circle with local Fijians, watching little girls in colorful mother hubbard dresses pluck apart a chicken for their night`s dinner, strolling along a vibrant Asian market, holding a little Korean boy in your arms while he sings you a song in his native language---- can you put a price tag on that? Can you really?????????

I don`t see myself as a backpacker who wanders aimlessly because she can`t get a real job at home or because she was too stupid to get an education. I`m choosing this lifestyle because at this point in my life--- it`s absolutely without a doubt what I want to be doing. If given the choice between a five thousand dollar diamond ring, a beautiful home, and a porsche in the driveway--- I would choose my MEC backpack time and time again... I wouldn`t even hesitate--- not even for a minute--- not even for a second---- not at all!

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