The map you see will tell you where I plan to go. Here’s a detailed version:
1. Fly from Manila to Beijing
2. Take an overnight train from Beijing to Kunming in the Yunnan Province
3. Take a bus or train from Kunming to Dali (7 hours train/not sure-more research needed)
4. Take a train from Dali to Lijiang (90 minutes)
5. From Lijiang, take a train back to Kunming (9 hours or so)
6. Take a 28-30 hour bus ride from Kunming to Luang Prabang in Laos
7. Take a bus from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng (6 to 8 hours)
8. Take a bus from Vang Vieng to Vientiane (about 4 hours)
9. Take an overnight bus from Vientiane to Bangkok, Thailand
10. Fly from Bangkok to Manila
Plenty of research will follow in the next few months before I finally book my dorm bed, airline, and train ticket because I have to consider many factors such as the road situation, possible dangers, possible travel companions, and of course, my financial and employment status. This journey will also depend on the number of days on the Chinese visa.
Now to the next question, why China and Laos? Why not Europe? The Americas? Japan?
1. The Great Wall is part of my travel bucket list
2. To visit the old town of Lijiang (a UNESCO World Heritage Centre) in the Yunnan Province
3. Before this whole Spratly Islands thing blows out of proportion, I might as well go…NOW
4. Laos is the most beautiful place in South East Asia according to almost everyone I know who has been to Laos (but I still love the Philippines no matter what!)
5. Laotian culture
6. To learn more about life
7. And..forgive me, but it’s true: Beer Laos and tubing in Vang Vien (I will rely on life vests)
My current boss has approved this one month leave, but today, he announced his resignation. A new boss has been assigned to us but I’m not sure if he’s in favor of my one month leave.
Having a new boss can be quite challenging because one has to adapt to and understand how this person works. You may never get what you want all the time, unlike in the past when you can easily tell your boss certain things and like a genie, s/he would grant your wish. This change may also affect my fate in the company. Who knows what’ll happen? But I learned something yesterday while researching about the ashram in India after watching the movie, Eat Pray Love .
The ashram is a spiritual hermitage and many people visit it to walk the path of a yogi. The document that I read had a discussion about spirituality as an evolving entity. For example, in the past, women in India were considered incapable of reaching the peak of spirituality that’s why they were not allowed to study the elements of the soul and other spiritual aspects. But today, this view is no longer applicable because women are more spiritually connected than men. Also, disciples in the past used to commit to their teachers in the ashram for at least 12 years but it’s different today because ashram students stay for a few weeks, months or just a year and this short term commitment is not wrong at all. Why? Because living a spiritual life while taking care of one’s needs and the needs of others is also important. We must be part of the world but not attach ourselves too much to worldly matters.
One therefore cannot hold on to how spirituality was viewed in the past because it changes or evolves to meet the needs of today. And the author added a Buddhist quote that goes something like, we mustn’t hold on to the past or think too much of the future. We should focus on the present instead and relish every moment of divine blessing.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an atheist, a Christian, or a pagan. The lesson is the same. If we think too much about our future, we may not fix whatever has to be fixed in the present. Same goes for holding on to the past. How can we live NOW if we continue to base our happiness on what we had back then? Even the best tennis players don’t focus on the final match or their previous victories. They always say, “what matters is now” or “take it a day at a time”.
One month leave, new boss, my employment status, my financial status…everything is on the line. But tonight, it’s all about this cool December breeze. I’m going to bed.
A glimpse of Lijiang: