A few weeks ago, I decided to retire Filipina Explorer. It would’ve been 13 years in February.
It was a name that I stuck with because in the beginning, there was much unselfing and relationship dependence I haven’t unlearned yet – an aimlessness that extended to my identity. So, when someone suggested the name, “because you are a Filipina and you like exploring”, I simply said, “Yeah, maybe I should.”
My writing largely hinged on movement. I struggled when I wasn’t “out there” not only because my job depended on it, but because my spirit needed the bustle of new experiences to be inspired and to create.
As my “why” for writing evolved and I transitioned from freelance travel writing to a fulltime job, as I cut the cords to the relationship from which the name sprang, the more the unease grew. Filipina Explorer doesn’t feel entirely mine. It’s a name that no longer resonates with who I am and what I want to keep doing: storytelling. Not just destinations, but the invisible narratives and humans that we often don’t notice while we’re busy looking at our maps.
With the pandemic forcing us into stillness, I realized that there is as much life in inertia as there is in lugging suitcases and chasing a bus. I began to see the world as more than a space to conquer and explore, but – to borrow a friend’s musing – “a place to inhabit and take in”.
It is much bigger than the roads we seek.
The world can exist outside grand adventures, away from the obtrusive noise of social media. Magic can take place in small, ordinary moments.
I am forever grateful for the woman, the home, that was once Filipina Explorer. For all the enchanting, eye-opening worlds I’ve seen and felt through her.
Many dreams came alive because of this past self. It paved the way for writing opportunities. It brought me to places that I never imagined I could reach: my first newspaper interview and byline, the pages of magazines, in havens worlds away from home, in the company of kindred spirits, around the campfire and, sometimes, inebriated conversations.
It connected me to friendships in the travel and writing communities (and a few but kind and patient readers who kept up with my babbling over the years) – many of which I am honored and grateful to keep to this day.
Above all, Filipina Explorer was an extension of home. In it, I kept memories of Lia and me safe. Two utterly clueless ladies on the road, a backpack each, in search of discovery, meaning, and wonder.
But there is a place and time for moving forward. Now feels right.
Our world won’t run out of stories. Through Our World in Words, I hope to breathe life into them.
In the coming weeks, I will be transferring all of Filipina Explorer’s content from 2009 onwards to our new home online. All of them will still be accessible. Those were poignant, magical, painful, enlightening, and magnificent 12 years, and I do not want to erase any of it despite the goodbyes those years carried. But soon, when you search for the old blog you will be redirected to our new address, where we will make fresh memories and unfurl more stories – on and away from the road.
I am excited to leaf through this new and more authentic page in our lives. I hope to hunker down with you in Our World in Words when we open its door.