No internet connection, signal-less simple living with only your thoughts and new found friends to keep you company.
I recently had gone on a trip to Buscalan, a mountainous province located in the Philippines. The trip lasted around 4 days and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever ventured to go on. One of the things that made it so great and memorable was because it was away from negativity and noise.
These two things that plague us daily in the city and when we go on social media, it’s so cluttered and full of distractions. As much as I agree that without a doubt I need the internet just as much as the next person, I also acknowledge just how soul-destroying it can be.
You know how when you’re stuck somewhere in the city with no wifi connection and you feel bored out of your mind because you have nothing to do, and you have this itching desire to go online because your habit of constantly checking what’s new has been disturbed. I thought I would miss going online and checking social media to entertain myself because what else can you do for fun on a mountain?
I was wrong. I didn’t miss it for even a minute, truth be told I was dreading going back to the city and being bombarded with 4 days worth of notifications.
Buscalan just felt so relaxing and almost like the ultimate social media and toxicity cleanse. Every morning that I woke felt so reassuringly calm like nothing was in a rush and time was always in your favor, mainly because it was.
It may be lacking certain luxuries but I would gladly have given up any luxury I had for the peace of mind that I got out of those 4 days in Buscalan. Material possessions can’t compare to having good mental health and the irony of it is that we work so hard to obtain these possessions at the cost of our well-being.
Up in the mountains, I realized so many things that seemed so obvious and yet never occurred to me before. A change of scenery and some new perspective was all it took to gain direction back into my life.
I love traveling, you meet so many good-natured people that can have a substantial impact on your life. On our first trip to Buscalan, we met a traveler named Mark who goes up to the village almost every month. He’s a big-boned guy with his arms covered in tattoos, a natural conversationalist, and a good-humored Pinoy to boot. He gave us great advice since it was our first time going to Buscalan (if you haven’t read my previous blog post about our trip, I admit that we got lost on our first try going to Buscalan).
We chatted up some travelers in the village and asked them why they keep going back and staying for months at a time in the village. Everybody had the same reason that we did, it’s all because of the community that you meet and become a part of. I’m very thankful that the people of Buscalan are so accommodating and the most graciously warm hosts I’ve ever encountered.
The magic of Buscalan as they playfully call it lies within the people, they’re the foundation that made Buscalan so well known enough for people to keep coming back. I admit that like everybody that came before me I only had the intention to go to Buscalan to meet Whang Od and get the famous Kalinga style tattoo, I never expected to go back ever nor to get attached to the people.
In this case, I’m thankful things didn’t go to my expectations. If you’re ever in doubt and feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders consider a trip to Buscalan or go somewhere where your thoughts can be at peace.
That’s what I did and it was the best time to reflect on life and decide on how I wanted to approach the future.