Chasing Bliss

I'm diving into a new experiment: living without money. While I'm not yet completely moneyless (I still have an ATM and a credit card, and still spend on rent and food), I've been slowly easing my way out of The System, The Soul-Sucking Workforce, and The Suicidal Consumerist Economy. Along the way I'm discovering a different kind of fix, one that fattens my spirit and nothing else. None of the following things can ever be bought or commercialized, and yet they're far more intoxicating than the everyday, store-bought paperbag of happiness. With little writing work and so much free time in my hands, I've been chasing bliss towards wherever it leads me.

  1. Exploring a new island on my own. Solo traveling is just as intimate as curling up with an impressionistic book. But unlike imagining scenes, you're launched into a 3D, HD-quality type of story.
  2. Meeting local and foreign nationals. This is probably the biggest spice I have of traveling alone. Also, I've met my muse, my surf-riding darkling.
  3. Feeling the ocean breeze. Some days I just while the time away on a hammock by the beach, shutting my eyes and feeling the ocean breathing on my skin.
  4. Biking on the open road. Freewheeling and baked in the sun, I go wherever I feel like it and end up in surprising places locals themselves don't even know about.
  5. Reading a book. Gave away my entire library and have either been reading on my tablet or borrowing books from hotels. Travelers from the world over leave plenty of good books behind.
  6. Swimming far out in the sea. Purging, healing, revitalizing, swimming in the sea pulls me back into the aqueous womb of the earth.
  7. Petting baby animals along the road. To replace my addiction to watching youtube vids of cuddly animals. XD
  8. Getting stoked on the sunrise everyday. I haven't missed a sunrise since January! Light is my new alarm clock.
  9. Birdwatching. Sighting plenty of various bird species is an everyday occurrence.
  10. Experimenting with one less thing one at a time. Going towards ultralight, I'm shaving off one thing at a time from my backpack. Everything I own is now under 10 kg.
  11. Helping people out. Currently lending a hand to an archaeologist setting up a museum in El Nido, among others.
  12. Drinking coconut juice. My favorite refreshment next to plain old water. You just yank it off a tree and hack the top off. Yum!
  13. Having a nap or picnic in the shade of trees. My room is just where I dump my stuff. Everything I do is outdoors, even my office.
  14. Hitchhiking to remote beaches. Aw, the joys of hitchhiking! Every driver I meet on the road is swelling with a generous heart.
  15. Sharing my spoils of the day (mostly food) with my neighbors. Just because they give me plenty of free food, mostly harvested produce or just picked from our backyard.
  16. Brewing lemongrass tea. The grass I just pull out from the earth, wash the dirt off, and steep in hot water.
  17. Soaking up in the view of islands and the ocean from a mountaintop. Something I can never have but have already stashed away in my memory.
  18. Listening to eclectic music. My new digs come from other nomads on the road.
  19. Gazing at the spray of the milky way in the black night. The universe is one deep monstrous cavern and we are but one trifling sparkle. And yet we sparkle.
  20. Building daily habits towards zero waste. Because I'm devoted to saving the environment and eventually being an activist.
  21. Watching kiteboarders surf and defy the forces of nature. Most afternoons I just sit back on the east coast and watch these junkies soar in between wind and water.
  22. Fishing in the calm and clear sea under a bright, full moon. I don't eat fish anymore, but I hitch on fishermen's boats just to hang out and watch.
  23. Immersing in Cuyonon culture. Not only am I immersing myself in this but helping out in their cultural programs.
  24. Getting high on the scent of tree blossoms. My landlady's choice of drug are flowers. I don't even have to stop and smell these things. They're everywhere!
  25. Shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables. Since there is no fridge (not to mention electricity!) where I live, I buy fresh produce everyday.
  26. Eating cheap and yummy vegan food. March marks my first vegan anniversary. The transition has been hellish and lonely but definitely worth every effort.
  27. Listening to the sound of a typhoon. On my first night in eastern El Nido, I thought there was a storm outside, what with the sound of downpour and the thrashing of trees. But nooo, it was only Amihan mimicking the onslaught of a typhoon.
  28. Cranking into yoga poses on the beach. I used to despise yoga, but now my body cannot be booted into a new day without breathing fire into gratifyingly painful poses.
  29. Writing my first novel. Ah, art. Possibly the only thing I can't live without next to air.
  30. Inhaling the deliciously clean ocean air. This is what I left the city for: to breathe and be seduced once again into the simplicity of being alive.

// Mar 2017