I’m mesmerized by stars – and twinkling lights.
From the balcony here on the northwestern tip of Panay island in the Philippines, the two form almost a snow-globe, with me at the center.
The night time darkness of this rural area means innumerable stars can be seen on a clear moonless night. Occasionally, my wife, Ellen, and I will take a big couch cushion up to our roof and lay on our backs to soak it all in.
The twinkling lights come from Boracay; the tiny, well-touristed island just three miles off our shore. Of course, presently, the tourist hoards from Manila and China and Korea have vanished – leaving only the lights.
Tonight, those lights are calling me, reminding me, demanding me, taunting me. Telling me not to forget or forgo the life and love that Ellen and I crafted and curated and lived fully — until the coronavirus crash.
I miss that life. I miss my wife.
Of course, we are together and safe and healthy and grateful. And compared to most people in the world, we have nothing to complain about.
Still, I worked long and hard and planned and waited to have the planet-rambling lifestyle that we created: to be earth vagabonds. And now that has been taken away – halted by masks, sealed by quarantines.
I first started grieving for our former lives the last time we went to Boracay. About three weeks ago we decided to rent a cheap studio room and make a weeklong getaway – husband and wife alone.
My mother, who has been safely stranded with us since coming for an extended visit over the 2019 holidays, remained in our long-term apartment in Malay, Panay.
Ellen actually went over to Boracay and checked in before me that day. I had some loose ends to tie up before I joined her late in the afternoon.
The short trip is burned in my mind. It was the first time in months that I felt my vagabond soul. It surprised me. I loved it.
Walking up our short beach drive to the main road after hugging mom goodbye made me feel alive again. I was going somewhere new; moving, traveling, exploring, vagabonding.
In fact, I felt a little foolish as I rode the tricycle taxi, then the Boracay ferry, then another trike to eventually rejoin my bride on Boracay’s Diniwid Beach for sunset. I wasn’t really going anywhere. We had visited Boracay numerous times already. Our rented room couldn’t be five miles from our apartment. Face masks were required. We’d be going ‘home’ soon.
But the tiny trip was enough to revive my travel desire and awaken again in me the hunger for new, different, exciting, and exotic explorations of this earth – even as it teeters on the abyss.
In the next couple days, Ellen and I are going back to Boracay. I want to stay 12 or 15 or 20 days and pretend that our vagabond lives are back on track. It’s all I can do.
I want to reconnect as man and wife with the one person who can relate to my restless soul. I want to be earth vagabonds.
We’ll explore more new places and beaches and sightseeing and eating options.
We’ll meet and laugh and share stories with people far different from us.
We’ll balance the need for masks and distancing and business closures with the fact that we’ll be some of the few ‘tourists’ on the beautiful island.
We’ll live our early retired budget lifestyle. Boracay prices have been slashed. We’ll buy stuff we don’t need or want and give tips to help out.
We’ll give thanks to god and appreciate our good fortune.
We’ll be dazzled by stars.
We’ll be Earth Vagabonds.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Earth Vagabonds again, in a pandemic world.”
Related material to read next:
- How we got ‘stuck’ in Malay, Aklan, Philippines, for the pandemic
- About Earth Vagabonds
- Changes to our Facebook group
- The good old days of slow travel recaptured, briefly