I'd completed my overland journey. I should have found home. Along the way, I had found some possibilities. But ultimately no. What to do?
I could have kept traveling, I certainly had the desire. I could have gone to mainland South East Asia. Thailand for example. There were many foreigners there. Plenty have even found a home there. But, I didn't feel it was for me.
I chose instead to fly into The Philippines. My first flight in quite a while and one that I'd hope would break me into a new phase. My plan was to spend 3 months in the Philippines with a few goals.
I had a lot of photographs to backup by uploading, and my travel blog was way behind.
The Philippines is an english speaking country, cheap, and with friendly people. It seemed like a good choice to stay a while and plan things out.
I first decided to discover The Philippines, and to find the ideal location to settle down to live. I traveled the Philippines starting from the north. Then central, then to answer some questions I tried living on an island which I documented on my travel blog on living in abroad in detail.
Following this I went to the south and the little explored conflict region of Mindanao
Traveling The Philippines first, before settling was undoubtable the right thing to do. During this period. It gave me an opportunity to discover the best and the worst of the country. And, gave me a better idea of the type of place within a country I wanted to live.
This is important, without being able to live like you normally do, how can you expect to survive in a new country?
I uploaded a years worth of travel photographs, and began to transfer my handwritten journals onto a blog. Then transferred them to this website.
I caught up on nearly 3 years of being out of touch with the news. I updated my skills and I tried my best to integrate with the Philippines.
Then, I set about writing my book. A travel fiction story of a guy on an overland journey overcoming the odds and paving a way to a new brighter future.
I spent long periods of 18 hour days and nights hunched over a laptop doing all this. Rather than gaining a tan in the tropics, I lost color, gained weight and hunkered down.
In a large part I succeeded. The photographs were uploaded safely, the journals converted into one of most popular travelogues today. The website you are reading now was completed. And, I tried to live in The Philippines.
And, this is where I failed ...
The Philippines is a fantastic place, it has flaws, but ultimately who wouldn't want to live there. Well, I never once got that gut feeling telling me it was "the" place. And, yes, I tried to force it. I did my damndest. But it just never happened.
Maybe I am overlooking something that was staring me in the face. But I can only rely on what got me through the toughest times in my life. My gut instinct, my desire to truly find a place I feel for.
What I learned in The Philippines was very different to the rest of my journey. Social integration, politics, work, and of course what we all learn everyday about life.
And so, after over two years of trying, I don't say goodbye to the Philippines, but I say thank you. And, farewell for now ... maybe we will meet again ...
Yes, I am still searching for home. The timer is ticking and I am getting anxious...