The Break Up: Moving on to Mr Manila

“Change your mindset, or change your situation”

The only real options available to us when we’re not content with something, right?

As my disconnection with Thailand trundled on in to it’s third week up in the hills of travel playground Pai, I began to wonder, why am I still here?

I hadn’t done any great acts of travel spontaneity in my three months aside from missing a few things off and staying longer in places I liked. I felt stuck, but in reality I was freer than I’ve every been, with a loaded credit card, passport and a world I could cart with me wherever I pleased.

“You’ll never be freer to make instant changes to your miserable circumstance.”

Insight from my friend Steve back home who had just arrived to work late in the pouring rain caused by the recent Tube strikes. I’m sure he was secretly hating me for my first world travel woes but he made a very good point and it helped give me some perspective.

So I started to think about what I wanted next. My plan was to work on my troubled mindset and escape the crowds on an organic farm offering meditation north from Chaing Mai. But the thought of staying longer in the area just didn’t appeal, even if it would potentially de clutter my brain and teach me how to grow radishes.

After that I had loose plans to head to Cambodia, or Laos, but why I could really tell you, just more ‘that’s where everyone goes when they come to South East Asia’ kind of thing. Given that was exactly what I was trying to get away from and I didn’t feel a burn of excitement about heading to either place (aside from seeing the temples at Angkor Wat, which I may regret later) my mind wandered further afield, and landed on the Philippines.

Flashy Jesus Jeeps, karaoke, pristine beaches, beer cheaper than water and real live volcanoes – where do I sign up?

On reading the first few lines of my guerrilla research I was sold. Manila sounded delightfully crazy and when I read that Filipinos have a deep love of eating and shopping for tat I was hitting the search button on Skyscanner.

Sitting with Khalil, my Canadian friend who I still couldn’t believe taught me how to ride a moped in 15 minutes flat the previous day, we plotted my escape. A few hours later I was booked on the next flight to Manila and felt what I’d been missing for a while, excitement, fear and curiosity about what I was stepping in to next.

As I left Chiang Mai the following day under a sunset so perfect it could almost be taunting me I thought it was a shame Thailand and I didn’t work out. Maybe he had had too many lovers before me and I couldn’t handle my jealously, or perhaps I just crave a different type of trail he couldn’t provide. We will never know. But now as I leave his shores I will be thankful of our short time together and cheekily look forward to diving in with my new boyfriend, Mr Manila.

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