Thursday, July 16, 2015

On Travelling Solo (While Being Extra Sick)

Long story short, I somehow managed to get myself hospitalized a day after getting back in Manila (and no, it's not MERS-CoV).

I'm definitely much better now, thankfully, but looking back it's probably one of the more difficult ordeals of my life.

There are fewer things more terrifying than a real sense of isolation. Being oceans away from home, with very little chance of contacting your loved ones and feeling like you're about to throw up literally every five minutes (and probably dehydrated to boot) is something I'd never want to experience again. The fact that I had to go through immigration officers, checkpoints and a fourteen-hour connecting flight while trying to hold everything in was just icing on the proverbial shit cake.

I remember when my father had a nasty bout with appendicitis a few years ago, where he managed to get emergency leave for a flight back to Manila. The doctors managed to get it out just in the nick of time, which was something we're thankful for.

Until very recently, I've never really thought about it that much - about how it scary it must have been not only for him but for countless other people who have to go overseas to keep their families afloat. I've never really thought about how lonely it could become some days when you no longer have anyone to talk to after your loved ones have gone off to sleep (or work, or after they've ended the Skype call or left their farewells and well wishes for the day on a myriad of messaging apps). I've never really thought about the future, the past, the dreams we still hope to achieve and how so excruciatingly far away from them we still seem to be - or at least not as much as I've had (in a very long time) when I was left to my own thoughts until late into the night in that ironically lonely hotel room back in India.

Looking back, I think it was a tough lesson I had to learn eventually (despite the medical bills). To be honest, those two weeks make me wonder how people could do it for months, or even years at a time.

I'm definitely more appreciative of the efforts of migrant workers. That fear probably changed the way I look at the world in general - I still believe that it's a beautiful place, although I'm more aware of its rough edges.

I hope that, at least, counts for something.

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