I’m writing this ahead of time, right after I’ve booked the hotel room and my two-way bus tickets, but by the time this post goes up, I am already in Baguio, a city I have never been to before. (I know!) Hopefully already having lunch in Cafe by the Ruins, if everything goes according to plan.
Having lunch alone, which some people see as pathetic and sad, but which I actually find enjoyable. I’ll be with a book, a 3G network connection. I’ll be people-watching. I’ll be drafting a short story in my head. Anyone alone isn’t really alone.
I’ve always wanted to go to the City of Pines. The want got kick-started when my publisher asked me and my co-Visprint writers if we’re going to the Baguio Komikon. (I’m writing this mid-January and I still don’t know. Eep.) I broached the idea to J, who showed interest, but after I’ve looked through cheap lodgings and maps and transportation costs, he said he was actually trying to save money this year, and he just didn’t like saying no to me. Well. That’s understandable. But I still want to go to Baguio. Jan. 31 is a holiday, and it’s like a sign that I can actually go on vacation without touching my vacation leaves.
I have the means, but I don’t have the means to pay for two people, and you know what, I’ve traveled in groups – with old friends and new friends and my family – and I’ve had my frustrations. I like things to follow a set schedule, and more often than not my schedule doesn’t jive with everyone else’s. Either I want to stay in the hotel room longer or I want to get up early. It entails a lot of cajoling and coaxing and nagging, which leaves everyone very tired. I can think of several trips I have made with other people where I got angry (internally or externally).
Why you should have me take care of a trip: I will have checklists and everything will be in order. Why you should NOT: We might end up fighting if you don’t follow my checklist.
Lately my concern is fat-shaming. There’s always the “Why is your belly so big?” and “Looking at you in your swimsuit now, you look bigger now than when we were in ________.” And I’m seriously tired of it.
My issue is not with the word, which is simply a descriptor, but with how they use it, like there’s something inherently evil and awful in it. What they’re saying is glutton, lazy, no self-respect, no self-discipline. That’s what they’re saying when they say “fat”.
I’ve become so self-conscious that I couldn’t stand being with other people. (I bet they’re looking at my huge arms now. I bet I look like a whale next to _________.) I have turned down dinners and get-togethers because of this, and I am only now acknowledging that this is the cause, and that‘s sad and pathetic.
So this year, I am returning to solitude. I will try traveling alone, because most of the time I love myself, and I’m 27 and I’m not getting any younger and it’s time to walk with myself again.
Baguio isn’t that far, but it’s a start.
Where else can I go? What other solo traveler-friendly places do you have in mind? I have lined up Dumaguete and Melaka. Are you a solo traveler? When and why did you start traveling on your own? Leave your recommendations and thoughts in the comments!