I’ve been away from my family for nearly eight months now. I obviously miss them tremendously and there have been times over the past few months when I have been sorely tempted to pack up and leave for the comfort of my wife’s arms and the company of my teenage sons.
I have however preservered and in each instance discovered new joys and been adopted by fun loving Filipinos that have offered me a surrogate family of sorts. I have also met and befriended a lot of twenty something backpackers.
Although I generally try and avoid the foreigners here, I have loads at home, there’s something different about this younger generation of travellers.
Perhaps it is their zest for life, the energy they exude or their simple appreciation of the life around them, untainted by the drains of mundane lives, still to come.
Whatever the reason, they tend to follow the same travel routes I now frequent, living amongst the local people and interacting with them as they experience the real Philippines. They are, I have discovered, a joy to be around.
We will sit around in the evenings after often having shared the days toils, and share beer, food and stories. Age becomes irrelevant as we share experiences of our time here in the Philippines.
If enough of these young foreign ambassadors continue traveling in Asia, they will do more for interernational relations than any politician could ever hope to achieve.
They are respectful of both their environment and the local people and form long lasting friendships with the Filipino people. They are hard working and charitable travelers with happy hearts and untainted souls.
Their joy of life is infectious and I am so grateful to have met so many of these young heroes. To Marco, Benny and all my other young friends, thank you.
You are shining examples of what we as the older generation should aspire to. May your journies of discovery be long and filled with the joys and happiness of life.