2022 marks the fifth year after I left the Philippines. Five years is a blip in life, but considering that I spent two years of it in a pandemic, those five years both feel like a lot and nothing at the same time. I took time to think about things that I know now.
When I became a freelancer, I thought I was going to be one forever. I started because I thought I wanted to escape the drudgery of working fixed hours. I wanted to live, and going to the office was taking the life out of me. It turned out my problem was not the hours—it was because I lost track of my purpose.
It’s been three years since my last solo journey. In 2016 I wandered through Visayas for a month. Good friends joined me on some legs of the trip; strangers shared my journey through the rest. I clearly remember when it happened. It was a beautiful day, and I was sitting in front of the beach right outside the cottage I was renting when this sinking feeling crept in. I don’t know why I was doing the things I did.
It’s a gloomy February on this side of the world. If you’re a person from the tropics, you should know that it’s a struggle to be a functioning human in northern Europe at this time of the year. Endless gray days, zero sunlight, and if you live in Amsterdam, you’ll get a bonus serving of wind and rain.