Little victories

"Whenever a person makes a decision, he is actually plunging into a powerful river which will carry him to a place he never even dreamed of when he made that decision." -The Alchemist
There comes a point in your life when you know exactly where you want to go, how to get there and what you want to be when you finally get there.

But sometimes, the universe has a funny way of teaching you things.

Because there also comes a point when you've finally gotten all that you thought you wanted but suddenly realize it's not all it's cut out to be.  And then your journey leads you to a fork in the road.  The one on the right will lead you exactly to where you envisioned yourself to be years ago.  The one on the left, on the other hand, is an uncharted road giving you no assurance where you'll end up.

This year, I took the road on the left.

As a result, it has been a year full of blind corners and unknown turns.  It made me scared, sad, and frustrated even.

And then there are the little victories.  They come in the form of unexpected messages of gratitude shared among the little groups I have had the pleasure of interacting with, making me realize that leaving a footprint, even if only a small one, in the life of another person is much more satisfying than that grand recognition we so blindly covet for sometimes. And when you finally decide to rethink the direction you want to go, these are the victories that matter.   Because they affirm the person you have grown into while on that journey.

So before 2014 closes, I want to thank the Big Boss Up There for this humbling experience and for my family, friends, and that special man who has been making me feel that these little victories are a step towards that something great that is waiting for me at the end of this uncharted road :)

Here's to more new and exciting turns in 2015!

A new day, a new year, countless new opportunities.  (Taken during our trip to Myanmar last November.)

Myanmar: Getting there, going around, tips, and other amusing discoveries

A Bagan wonder.  One of the many nameless temples in Bagan, Mandalaya, Myanmar.

I remember Googling--as fast as my hands and internet connection would let me--routes from Philippines to Myanmar the moment I saw the headlines "Philippines, Myanmar to sign VISA-free agreement" back in 2013.  Coincidentally, a good friend of mine has had her eyes set on the Golden Land for quite a while too.  Hence the start of a year-long planning for a trip to a place Lonely Planet calls "a living edition of the National Geographic, circa 1910".

However, compared to other tourist destinations in Asia such as Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and even Cambodia, going to Myanmar is a bit trickier. 

"Tourism in Burma (Myanmar) is a slowly developing sector. Although Burma possesses great tourist potential and attractions in many fields, much of the industry remains to be developed. Also, the number of visitors to Burma is comparatively small compared to her neighbours - even outpaced by Laos. This is primarily due to its current political situation. However, after the junta transferred power to the civilian government, the tourism sector saw an increase in tourism arrivals and in 2012, tourist arrivals surpassed the one million mark for the first time."*

Nonetheless, my companions and I had fun figuring out how to get there and go around the country.  And since I've been gushing non-stop about this trip, here's our itinerary and some tips which, hopefully, will be helpful to travelers also Googling ways on how to get to this land still enveloped by the traditional ways of an ancient culture.

Bagan: the land almost forgotten by time

"Slumbook question No. 3: What's your favorite Bagan experience?"

Two days after we came back from our Myanmar trip, our group was still inflicted with a serious case of vacation hangover.  Every now and then, one of us would send a photo in our Viber group or prod each other with questions which would launch an hour or so of reminiscing.

This particular question, I really had a hard time answering.  Our vacation was only for seven days but it felt longer with everything that we experienced.  Rather than just going on two three-hour flights and a 10-hour bus ride, it felt like we traveled back in time to a land filled with stories of old waiting to be told.   

Everything about Myanmar is just memorable.

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