DAILY PROMPT: If you could live a nomadic life, would you? Where would you go? How would you decide? What would life be like without a “home base”?
In my early adult life, I had a thing for taking long rides in public airconditioned buses — and no matter how excited I was to get to where I was going, I had a silent wish for the bus ride never to end. Forget the mandatory pit stops, I just wanted the bus to keep going on and on and never reach its destination so I wouldn’t have to get off it.
These days, the longest trips I take are on planes across the oceans to make it to Manila. But that doesn’t count as far as living a nomadic existence.
Again, when I was much younger, there was a rebellious side of me which had me imagining landing some place hidden and far away and just “disappearing” into the crowd, blending in with the towns’ folk. Maybe even living under an assumed name, and going about life as if I was meant to be there. Not in the city, not in the midst of the action.
The fantasy didn’t quite take for long because I would be the first to admit, disappearing into the crowd is not very easy for me. Not here, where the darker color of my skin already screams “outsider”. Not back in the Philippines where I am not the darker but the fairer-skinned stranger. I cannot even try to blend into the crowds in Divisoria and not know that the people see me as a likely target for over pricing or for some other such ploy, even if my Tagalog is twang-less and fluid.
If I were to hit the road, though, I know I’d be able to take care of myself. My skills would get me a job, be it at the diner, at the office or some other place. I adapt well. But gone are the days when fantasies like those crossed my mind, because living such a nomadic existence would mean hitting the road on my own. And immediately, I’m hit by the fact that that will never happen because I cannot bear to be apart from the little boy who holds my hand and who calls me in the middle of the day to tell me he misses me.
I would always be drawn back home. It would be nice to dream of a never-ending journey from place to place, but that will never happen for as long as my little boy is home. And I cannot take him with me on this adventure. By the time I can, I’d probably be too old to try.
Anonymity appeals to me. Just being the woman renting the house or the room from some place else no one knows where. But anonymity and motherhood don’t mix. My feet will always take me home, no matter where my dayderams take me.
I dream of maybe doing that in my twilight years. When I know that saying goodbye to this life is all but a matter of time. I’d love to live in a place where no one knows the title attached to my name, or that I had once lived in the greatest city in the world. I’d like to be just “Tita Dinna” to everyone. The old lady who putters around her house crafting, and who disappears every once in a while to visit her son who lives in a far away place, without knowing where that might be. Not a nomad, just a stranger in a place where people wouldn’t bother to know who or what I used to be.
It’s a nice dream to think of venturing out into the world out there — for as long as the money came, there would be another bus trip to take. It would be nice to move from place to place. Travelling through this great land or through my homeland from end to end. There was a time when I reached the farthest places I never thought I’d visit in the Philippines — but there is so much more to see. I’ve never been to Banaue, and I’ve never been farther than Iligan in the south. And even then, I was always in the city. Never in the barrio. It is always difficult to disappear into the provinces because of the language distinction. I’m not too good with the dialects. And again, the color of my skin and my general features will give me away and make me literally stick out like a sore thumb.
In my dreams, I roam. Only in my dreams.