Had my father been alive, we would have gone to so many out of town trips or abroad, go on a food trip galore and have a blast. That’s wishful thinking, of course. I know he’s in a much better place now.
You can say that My Dad was the first one who inspired me to travel. Whenever he would arrive back in the Philippines after months of staying elsewhere (mostly in Brunei and Singapore and other parts in Asia), his stories of his funny travel experiences were just endless. I sort of envy him and wished his job would allow him to bring his family with him abroad. But it was impossible then. Back then, plane tickets were so pricey; cheap flights and seat sales were not the fad. Much as he would want us to join him, his income won’t allow it and he would probably worry whether he could find us decent accommodation.
They say traveling makes you wiser about the world. I think in my father’s case that’s true. He didn’t make it to college but the opportunity to travel while working afforded him a chance to catch up with lessons you won’t usually get inside a typical classroom. He would frequently tell me that should I look for a job, I should find one where I’d have the same travel opportunities. Because he planted that desire in my heart, I kept that in mind.
Whenever he is home, we would always go on a road trip. The road trips are always fun. He knows how to maneuver the car and avoid traffic. I’m always amazed at how many alternative routes he knows in order to cut the travel time to a destination. It was more fun when we we’re riding our owner-type jeep. Even on a hot summer, I felt it was cool to travel on the road with my father down south in Batangas, Tagaytay or anywhere we would feel like going to. What’s amazing for me too is to learn Dad made a lot of friends and acquaintances during his travels. Until now, we are still acquainted with these friends he had.
When he passed away, I felt I lost the best travel buddy in my whole life. Two years after he passed away, I got my first assignment abroad. I remember, when I was in Shanghai, the first city I travelled to, I was looking outside my hotel window and thought to myself, ‘Dad it’s already happened. It’s my time to travel now. How I wish you saw this.’ And that’s that.
Thank God, I had a father who encouraged me to travel and see the world with my own eyes. Not all fathers are like that; I mean, I know parents have different parenting styles but my father never once discouraged me to go to places where I would learn a lot of things. He allowed me to go far up north, in Ilocos Norte for one whole week while I was still in college, or to Baguio City with my friends. There were no mobile phones back then and I didn’t even have a beeper (the most common gadget before). Maybe in his heart, he knows, God’s traveling mercies are with me and that these opportunities I got is just the start of something bigger in the future. I am so thankful he trusted me enough to give permission when some of my friends found it hard to get their parents’ approval.
I may not be able to travel around world before I die, but I won’t clamp down on my voyage cravings. In all of these things, I have My Dad to thank for, for encouraging and inspiring me endlessly, when he was still alive, to go where my feet leads me, to see the places I want to see. This Father’s Day, I’m paying tribute to him, my travel mentor who made me laugh, smile and inspired me to feed my wanderlust.