Coming to Taiwan

Even now that I am currently in the country, it still dumbfounds me that I made it to Taiwan. Unlike my previous trips, the only concrete plans I had for this trip were my flight details and my accommodation. I had no itinerary, no budget plan, and no time to even think everything through. For the first time in my life, I was quite spontaneous (around 75%). I had no printed Google Maps directions to my hostel, I got lost a couple of times, my GPS wasn’t accurate underground, and I was at a loss over where to go and what to do. I even brought my laundry with me. 

I got my tickets to Taiwan as soon as the ROC embassy released a statement that Filipinos would have a visa-free entry effective June 1, 2017. I was super excited, so I booked my flights and filed for a leave. That was back in mid-April. By May, news got out that the effectivity of the visa-free entry was moved to September. I had no choice but to apply for an e-visa. It was super easy, though, and despite all my apprehensions about getting sent back to the Philippines upon arrival, I made it through immigration in only a minute or two.

228 Peace Park, Taipei

Last year, when I packed for our 5 week trip, I stayed up until 3AM, antagonizing over all the details I might have glossed over. Fortunately for that trip, our flight was at night, so I had the whole morning to pack and unpack then pack again. This time, however, my flight was at 7 in the morning, so I had to be at the airport by 5AM, which meant I had to leave by 4AM and be awake by past 3.

READ ALSO: Packing for 37 days. With no checked-in luggage.

I felt like I was packing the life I was leaving behind the entire day before my trip. I tried to finish as much as I could with my job, I had to turn over duties to my partner, there were unexpected things that popped up, I had to have my money changed, I had to clean my room, and I had to do the actual packing. That left me only two hours to catch some much needed sleep.

Having a job means having more responsibilities. I was going to be away for 5 days, and that meant I had to try and settle everything (or almost everything) before I upped and left. I only just realized, but being in this stage of life changed my view on the simplicity of how “packing” is usually defined. Instead of items to weigh and assess, there are thoughts to overthink, to-do lists to finish, and e-mails to make sure I don’t miss.

Bo’ai Road, Taipei

My annual major trips always seem to come after negative life events. It’s like the universe conspires to get the timing right. Traveling has always been stressful to me, especially because I like to plan ahead and I get so confused and disoriented when I don’t, but it’s also a form of recharging.

READ ALSO: 5 Things To Do When Traveling Alone

There are times when I get so overwhelmed with life that nothing seems to make sense anymore, and even the things I love start to get routinary. And that eats me up inside little by little until I reach the warning sign before my breaking point. My breaking point is often characterized by the absence of positive hard-wired Monica traits (like having things planned out, being effective and efficient, getting the right creative flow, etc.), and for the past couple of weeks, they have been bleeding out of my system.

Qidu Station

Up until last year, my purpose for traveling was to “discover my self, find love, and be happy”. Well, I have come to the conclusion that every day is a journey to self-discovery, love is all around, and happiness can come in many forms. So today, in a *rare* moment of introspection and overthinking, I thought that perhaps travelling for me now is a way of rebooting my system (like a computer needs reformatting sometimes) in order to get back on track.

Life can sometimes get so hectic and uncontrollable. There are days when nothing feels right, and everything just seems to… go. Sometimes we have to deal with abrupt change, and there’s just no holding on to what was, because we’re all going forward, moving on with our lives, leaving the things that shouldn’t matter any longer. That can get really stressful, sad, and confusing.

READ ALSO: 4 Things I Learned While Traveling Solo

Shifen Old Street, Pingxi District

Traveling is a nice way to restart things, begin a new chapter, get yourself ready for what’s waiting back home. It clears the mind, adds to the plethora of experience you no doubt already have, and it gives you fuel to start again.


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