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Searching Everything in New York

Friday, January 20, 2017
My sister just got married 3 days prior to our flight to New York, so technically, I was crashing her "honeymoon".

The three of us have gone on trips before. I go because of the free travel, accommodation, and food... but mostly to put my sister on blast 24/7, like most younger sisters do.

This time, I went to New York for me. They were merely tagging along.

Leica Montano

I've always dreamt of New York. You know, live in a brownstone somewhere in West Village, know the metro by heart, and have that perfect meet-cute Mindy Kaling would be proud of.

So, landing in LaGuardia, I was optimistic. I thought of all of the Joe's pizzas I would eat, the strolls I would have in Central Park, and the endless hot-dudes-reading I'd brush shoulders with at the subway. I wanted to experience all things New York and more.

I tried not to think too much of anything up until I was handing in my ticket to board my flight. I didn't want to expect all these things only to be disappointed of its reality. But on the car ride from the airport to our place in Brooklyn, there was really nothing to be disappointed about. I was all heart-eyes emoji and noticed everything we passed by, pointed things out like a 6-year old in Disneyland for the first time.

I remember we crossed the Canal and Bowery intersection in Chinatown and told my sister to play Ho Hey by The Lumineers - told them, those were the streets in the song. "We just passed by it! Look!"

They didn't really care. And much of the trip was like that.

"Look! It's the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where I can't afford to buy overpriced Hamilton tickets." shrug

"Look! It's the bench where The Doctor read Amy's Letter." who?

"Look! It's the FRIENDS appartment!" where? "JK, we ain't no where near Bedford street."

I was in my little world and they were in theirs. Sometimes we'd end up in one bubble like Roberta's in Williamsburg, eating pizza by the outdoor backyard, and we'd all be thrilled... because we could all appreciate a good slice, or three.

Fountain of Youth in Bali

Friday, July 22, 2016
I'd like to think everyone of us will have that one remarkable trip that endures us. You know, that trip you'll keep talking about that soon everyone will get tired of hearing; that trip you'll end up craving for, wanting to relive every moment, recreating that same feeling but doesn't quite compare; that trip you'll look back onto when you've reached past your prime, thinking how time could've betrayed you.

I'm talking about that trip to New York with your girlfriends, the Vegas trip of 2012, or that weekend in Cancun where details of that trip are still a bit hazy.

Uluwatu temple

I think this was it for me... this Bali trip with my friends. Those five days in Indonesia seemed like about a full week's worth of activities but it still felt short. We didn't sleep much. We ate a lot. We moved a couple of times. We told a lot of stories. And we got high on cat poop coffee... well, some of us did. It has been a few months already and I'm dying to go back.

From the cleansing water at Ubud to the climb at Mount Batur, the surf at Uluwatu and everything else that I can't talk about, it was in every sense of the word, perfect. Well, sort of.

Take away the traffic jams, the scams, and the untimely death of a digicam, you get a forest of green rice paddies, a waterfall that's ideal for the hashtag #doyoutravel, and a small corner of a shore overlooking corduroy waves with surfers catching the perfect swell. And then maybe if you're lucky, a sunset so peaceful, so serene, you vow to come back to this place as much as you possibly can.

New Waves in La Union

Friday, April 22, 2016
Life's pretty exciting. Even if for most of us, it means sitting in front of a computer and waiting for something great to happen, we get to have these moments - moments of bliss and ecstasy that we soon crave and cling onto. I'm talking about that time you went backpacking across Indochina and went tubing in Vang Vieng, or that time you went on a spontaneous road trip with your friends, or even that time you just dove off a pier because why not - moments wherein you just completely seized the moment.

But I get it, not everyone has the courage to step out of one's comfort zone, to be crazy (/stupid), or to do whatever the hell one wants. But sooner or later, you'll learn that life's a lot more fun when you stop caring about what other people might think and just do it.

I remember the first time someone asked me what's the craziest thing I've done. I tried to think of something cool to reply but nothing. I then tried to actually think about something crazy I ever did but still, nothing. OK, maybe I had one but that was more stupidly-irresponsible than fun-crazy.

I had been so safe for the longest time. Sure, nothing's wrong with safe, it's just that sometimes I envied the people who could just let go. Do whatever. Jump off a cliff, maybe. Or even just dance like nobody's watching... and then upload it on youtube so everyone can watch.

And so, I thought, if there's people out there YOLO-ing the shit out of life, why can't I do the same.

Leica Montano