Lately, I must have woken up my inner risky bug. From choosing to chase my ultimate dream as a writer, opting to leave the nursing comfort zone, filing my resignation, to travelling all by myself; I must be a natural adventurer. You may remember that I did a solo day trip to Tagaytay five months ago. That, I believe was a very good start.
As I am nearing the bumhood era once again, I spent most of my free time planning my solo backpacking trips. But I can’t be too excited, I know for sure I need enough planning, confidence, practice, and money.
So last Holy Week, my family had an impromptu trip to the Ilocos Region, which was located at the northwest side of the Philippines. I was not able to file a leave for this particular trip so I was left alone at home.
Not wanting to miss any of the adventures, I followed their journey two days after. Honestly, the delay gave me more time to plan my trip as I called several Public Utility Bus (PUB) companies inquiring whether they have trips during that day. I feared that all their trips might be fully booked as then was a peak season. I also was able to pack enough food and utilities to entertain myself in the long ride.
So on a peaceful Good Friday evening, I left the hospital after my PM shift. The PUB I was expecting to ride that night will leave at 2300H and I will be discharged from work a mere one hour prior. With this, I talked, pleaded, and bribed the receiving shift to arrive early for the endorsement. I then changed into my most comfortable long drive outfit; which by the way they thought was a sleeping outfit, that’s how comfortable it looked.
I arrived at the Partas Pasay Bus Station at roughly 2345H; stretched some, urinated, paid the Php814 fare, and chose my place in the bus. I first chose a window seat at the middle part of the vehicle, but the one seated in front had almost fully descended his seat that I hardly have space for my bag, so I transferred to an aisle seat near the front. Never mind the view, it’s dark anyway.
The travel time to Laoag according to my research was approximately 8-9 hours by land. It was a smooth and fairly safe ride. I was asleep most of the time, if not eating or drinking water. The best decision I have made then was bringing my amazing neck pillow, because even if it was bulky, it helped me sleep peacefully despite my noisy apathetic co-passengers.
I will forever be thankful to Partas Bus plated UWD 573 for the safe drive, accommodating response to my inquiries, and bravery to silence the noisy ones inside. My seatmate then was also very polite. Too bad I never got his name; he must have got off while I was deep asleep. Truly, solo travellers are never alone in their journeys: there are always helpful and compassionate people, locals and non-alike, willing to extend a hand to make the ride easy and comfortable.
I was reunited with my family at around 0600H, Black Saturday. I was supposed to get off at Laoag but my mom was a bit hysterical and eager to see me. She won’t stop calling, so I got off along Sta. Maria – Narvacan Highway.
Whew, another great start for my independence tours! I am very excited to try new things, see new places and appreciate the world in a whole new level.
I now truly appreciate the saying “Life is about taking risks”. May it be in career, family life, adventures, decisions, or whatever, we are all bound to face scary situations. Facing these situations with brave hearts, even in times of failure will enable us to proclaim that “At least there are no what-ifs!“.