Two years ago, I saw this picture:
This is one of the winning shots of Lonely Planet.com’s Travel Mosaic contest.
My jaw dropped the first time I saw it. So I promised myself, “I’ll have my own photo one day”.
ENTER: Bagan, Burma (Bucket List) – 2010
Like an average daydreamer, I started with a plan…a plan that failed.
I also started to save money, but it went somewhere else.
Then my dad got into a financial mess.
It affected each one of us, my mom, me, my siblings.
I had to find a way to support myself.
I also struggled emotionally at work, thinking about my future.
This is the Philippines, a 3rd world country.
I earn to eat and pay my bills. A movie once a month perhaps. And that’s it.
What iPhone are you talking about?
At one point, I had no money.
So I ate food that I didn’t like.
Then friends passed away.
Death haunted me…
and I nearly collapsed in a very busy, chaotic area in Manila.
Palpitations. Blood pressure dropped.
For two days, I couldn’t get out of bed.
Thought I was going to die.
My fate: an irreversible heart condition.
The medication is forever, my dear. XOXO, your Cardiologist.
Then they started knocking on my door: depression…and paranoia..and hypochondria.
There was enough FEAR to fill my head.
Fear of collapsing again. Fear of being alone. Fear of death.
Along the way, I hurt friends, I lost friends.
I wanted comfort. I can’t tell my mom. She had a quadruple heart bypass years ago.
I sought help.
My psychologist told me to come back and see her.
I cried. I asked God why He’s not helping my dad.
I asked why He wasn’t helping me.
But, in the middle of it all, I kept on going. My faith intact.
I continued to work hard.
I continued to accept what life put in front of me.
I continued to believe.
I continued to LIVE.
Suffering is part of life.
Accept. Believe. Sacrifice.Live.
Bagan, Burma = CHECK / Nov 2, 2012
Bagan can be reached via a 12 hour overnight bus from Yangon. Fair is 15,000 Kyat (about $17 / 700 Philippine Peso). Bus tickets can be booked through your hotel a day before departure.