Winning Days with My Traveling Shoes

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I took this photo at the outskirts of Lesotho in Southern Africa as winter broke and patches of snow blanketed the dry grounds in the morning. One of the poorest in the world, my Asian eyes found the landscape awesome. No, make that stunning.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

The shoes were an excuse. Regardless of brand or when it was bought, I was meant to go. But of course it matters that it is a comfortable one. Or else you’ll go home each time with a sprain.

A father and a son played at the beach as sun settled for the night. Boracay never disappoints. You can go anywhere else in the world to find the best and go home to find it right in your doorstep.

Where did my shoes take me? Join us in the journey.

My very first passport stamp was in Singapore when I attended the induction ceremonies of the Rotary Club of Singapore courtesy of my being “working” secretary of the Rotary Club of Marbel. It was one of the funniest and most memorable trips I’ve ever had.

My next was when I attended a conference in Pattaya, Thailand for World Vision. Little did I know that Thailand will play a big part in my traveling life – after four years, I was deployed in Phuket for two years to lead the communications team for the tsunami program. The rest, as we all would say, is history.

My third was in Chennai, India when I attended a meeting. All trips could be erased but this one will never be. I suffered a very serious asthma attack on board Singapore Airlines on my way home and almost got the plane do an emergency landing!

Luang Prabang town might be a UN Heritage Site but its real beauty can be found outside of it. Cruising Ngoi's Nam Khan River on a rickety boat is a refreshing ride.

God definitely sends angels (I presume He has decided it was not yet my time to go). When the flight nurse announced for help, a medical team from Compassion International – fresh from their medical mission in Chennai – stood up and helped me.

I can’t remember all their names anymore, especially the nurse who sat with me all the way until I was moved straight to a waiting ambulance at the airport. I owe them my life. The first voice I heard in Changi General Hospital was from a Filipino nurse. My worries were immediately eased down.

As soon as alerted by World Vision Philippines, World Vision Singapore’s then CEO immediately came to my rescue, taking time even on a Sunday to make sure I am properly attended to.

Pouring over the ancient walls of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was a surreal experience.

In my 3-day stay, several Filipino nurses at the hospital took turns in making me feel at home, apart from my cousin Cristy who kept close watch of me during my confinement. I also salute Singapore Airlines’ absolutely first class service (I used up seven (!) oxygen tanks on board and they were fully equipped. They monitored my progress until I was allowed by the doctors to go.

Lesson learned: Never ever board a flight if you are not feeling well. Make sure you are in tip-top shape. You are at your most helpless state when you are up in the air and sick. And don’t forget that travel insurance! Have you done this?

My first sight of the mighty Baobab tree out of Blantyre in Malawi was heart-stopping. My trip in Southern Africa uncannily came into full circle after I saw it.

Touching how my first trip abroad came full circle on that trip. Among the first people who visited me was RC Singapore’s Past President Oliver Hennedige and his wife Irene. I eventually stayed in their place in Bukit Timah before I flew home.

It’s amazing how our travel diary ends up with so many colorful memories from the people we met – even indebted to with our lives -, the places we enjoy and the unexpected turns we experience.

This is just the beginning. Don’t miss the second phase next week!

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“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

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