I Know My Life Has Changed Due to Being on the Road Often When..

/ Friday, March 21, 2014 /

Mt. Madjaas, Antique

1. I frequently withdraw from social media.
For the past year or two, I have deactivated my Facebook a couple of times which stretched for a couple of months, went on a Twitter sabbatical often, and have ignored Pinterest until I receive email notifications that some stranger just re-pinned one of my pins.
One of my longest social media withdrawals happened after we scaled two mountains in Bukidnon early last year -- Mt. Dulang-dulang and Mt. Kitanglad. It was by turns the most memorable and most difficult climb I’ve had to date. We lost track of the trail on our way down and we ended up trekking like zombies for roughly 18 hours. Good thing we finally made our way into the houses of the Daragyuhan tribe who, without any hesitation, allowed up to sleep for a few hours in their huts.
So why go missing in social media? Every so often, trips like my Bukidnon climb make me reevaluate how I live and see things beyond the usual macroscopic point of view. Will something positive happen if I tweet about what I just had for dinner? Will I make someone feel better if I write about how emotionally drained I am in Facebook? Mind you, I’m no saint. I even once took a photo of my cats and posted it on Twitter. But at some point, after spending some time outdoors, an omniscient voice inside my head (like that voice in most Woody Allen films) makes it his business to regularly remind me of the most important things in life. And unfortunately, it does not count hours spent on Facebook.
2. My kitchen skills and the way I eat has improved immensely.
What does the kitchen have to do with traveling? Unlike some people,  the act of cooking itself was never a permanent fixture in my life. I can cook a few insanely simple dishes but I did not really love the idea of cooking in the first place.
Why bother cooking when I can eat something out of a can? Or grab something from the cafeteria? That was me talking before I started to spend more time on the road, traveling out of Cebu to scale mountains in neighboring provinces.
A multi-day climb always involves preparing for a meal plan -- the ingredients, where to buy this and that, and the need to make sure that those recipes will sustain us during the mountaineering trip. In addition, being able to talk, mingle, and live with the locals made me see that there’s more to microwavable food sold in convenience stores.
I started to see cooking as an important yet frequently overlooked factor which affect how we operate every day in our lives. When you’re in-charge in the kitchen, you know exactly what’s on your food. Such thoughts led me to the conclusion that knowing what I put in my body will make me healthier and consequently, more productive (less sickly days, anyone?) in what I intend to do.

Have you tried using  whole food sources such as dulaw (turmeric) or atsuete (annato) for recipes that call for food color?
Did you know that you can't really say you've eaten the best comfort food unless we’re talking about tinolang manok bisaya (native chicken soup)?

3. I sometimes find myself with nothing left to wear for work.

I admit it has to do with me being too lazy to frequently do laundry. Yet it largely has to do with me letting go of a lot of my stuff, most of which are my clothes, when it occurred to me that I don’t need to have tons of possessions to feel fulfilled or happy or whatever positive emotion you can associate a smiley emoticon with.
When we scaled Mt. Madjaas in Antique (we traveled from Cebu to Iloilo), I was initially surprised when our guides showed up with nothing resembling of a backpack (we were supposed to trek and camp for three days) except for a machete that prove to be useful when the trails on the way up were almost impassable. We had to provide them with tent and food.

Of course, one can argue that most of our countrymen (like our guides in Mt. Madjaas) were minimalists not by choice but by circumstance. However, isn’t it worth trying to live minus the excess physical weight (and perhaps the emotional baggage of worrying too much about your new smartphone’s screen getting unsightly scratches) of the things you own that has been sitting in your closet gathering dust?  


{ Carissa Bongalosa } on: April 1, 2014 at 12:19 PM said...

After reading this, I'm more than convinced to try a Minimalist lifestyle. We're all living on a limited time, anyway. No need to store treasures that don't matter when we pass away.

Ohh.. overly sentimental here.

Thanks for this post, Kai. :)

P.S. I deactivated my FB twice.haha.. Really felt that it was draining my precious time.

{ Kai } on: April 2, 2014 at 8:21 AM said...

Hey, Carissa! :) Salamat for dropping by. Looking forward to hearing from you again regarding your minimalist endeavors :D

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I usually say, in the end, okay, it’s love and it’s work — what else could there possibly be? -- Maira Kalman


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