Travel Fail: Why sometimes a fail can still be pretty great

A few years back when Facebook made us all switch over to the Timeline format, I took the news a bit better than most. People always get up in arms when Facebook changes but this one promised to give my feeble memory some much-needed help. I was sick of having no idea when I was anywhere. But then, after one afternoon of muddling through old photos and texting everyone I’d ever taken a trip with, I finally nailed down the who, when and where of my past travels and could just sit back and let Facebook remember it all.

My hope is that, in the future, this blog might provide me with the same type of service. When did I take that trip to Dubai? Check the blog. How long were we in Honduras? Check the blog. In reality though, this blog is a chronological nightmare – I’m skipping all over the timeline of my life writing about a trip I took five years ago in the same sentence that I’m telling you where I was last month. I try to tie things together in concept, but from a sequential standpoint, it’s a disaster

I’d like to say that this is due to the fact that I’m playing catch-up, because, after all, I didn’t have this blog five years ago. By that logic though, I should at least be on top of my more recent trips – which I’m not.

Julie's travel map

Nope, I definitely have not written about all these places yet.

Case in point, I’ve barely mentioned my trip to the Philippines. I was there for two weeks last fall and other than to say I was too big for the clothes and that Andy got a kick out of showing me around Manila, you would never know I went.

Truth be told – I sort of failed at being a good traveler there. I was, however, a superb vacationer. The difference is that a traveler seeks out authentic cultural experiences, learns a lot about her surroundings and attempts not to get ripped off; a vacationer sits her butt on a beach and has far too many rum and pineapple drinks. Usually, I think traveling is where it’s at. That being said, in the Philippines, we vacationed – except the beach was all torn up from a recent typhoon so we sat by the pool. Was it pleasant? Absolutely. Did it provide me with a plethora of awesome blog post ideas? Eh…

Julie in the pool in Siquijor.

Oh… and I also occasionally got in the pool.

Vacationing wasn’t the original plan, but when I showed up in Manila, Andy was wrapping up a month-long work stint and he was a bit worn out. He’d been working long hours in a particularly gritty area of an already gritty city. So while he buttoned-up the job and I battled my jet-lag we planned our escape from the big, bad city – we’d grab a hopper flight to Dumaguete and then take the ferry to Siquijor and everything would be peachy.

My initial take on Dumaguete was that it was great. Andy, on the other hand, was sleep-deprived and still on edge from in-your-face Manila. I was feeling a little guilty that I’d insisted on extending his trip so I could come play in the Philippines and I really hoped he’d shake his mood. Luckily though, Andy is a pretty easy guy to get back into a good state of mind and after a few cold beers, dinner and an evening spent people-watching along the cute waterfront esplanade, Dumaguete won Andy over. He took a breath – not every child was a thief, not every woman was an aggressor and not every bartender was a cheat. And that, my friends, is when the vacation started.

Manila Skyline.

The view from our hotel in Manila. Not every person is a thief, aggressor or cheat here either, but it is a bit rougher than the islands. Also, Andy has some crazy-ass tales of him getting attacked on these streets – but those are his stories for another day.

The next day we took the ferry to the little island of Siquijor. Even in the best circumstances, I’m not that great at haggling – which is the way of much of the world and always welcomed and expected. This time, we just didn’t have the motivation to talk the tricycle driver down to a lower price or try to score a good deal on the hotel he showed us. We were in a hurry to get there and do nothing. And once we got there and did said nothing, I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty nice.

Julie with the tricycle in Siquijor.

Here I am with the tricycle that we’d paid probably double for.

A funny thing about being a traveler taking a vacation is the shame and guilt you feel when you come across someone traveling. At the end of our stay, when Andy and I were sitting on the docks waiting for a ferry, a backpacker who had just arrived on the island came up and inquired about tricycle prices and hotel recommendations. I was terribly embarrassed to admit to her, a total stranger, that we’d paid the listed price for both, hadn’t seen much of the island besides what was right near our hotel and didn’t even have a guide-book.

So what did we do on our vacation?

First we did some of this…

Shamblins on the beach.

Because sunsets are always nice.

And then I did some of this…

Julie in hammock.

Because laying in a hammock is nice.

And Andy did a little of this…

Andy with beer.

Because drinking a cold beer on a hot day is nice.

And then we took super important pictures like this…

Siquijor sky.

Because palm trees and blue skies are nice.

And this…

Beer in sunset.

Because it too, looked nice.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. We did get some pictures like this when my face puffed up because of a spider bite…

Spider Bite

This isn’t as bad as it had been when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t open my eye. It reminded me of a time I got bitten and my entire hand swelled up. Andy, being the nice guy that he is, had lovingly referred to me as Hamburger-Helper hand until the swelling subsided.

All in all we had a great time. Other than the spider bite and the fact that one of the cleaning gals swiped our camera (on loan from my sister) from our room (which, by the way, is worse than having pajamas stolen), everything was great.

But about that plethora of blog post ideas…

Sometimes I think it takes a little distance to come up with a good hook for a post – who knows, five years from now I might be hit with a ton of insightful blog post ideas about this trip. Or, as I imagine might be the case in this one, the hook just might not be there and you might wind up showing a bunch of pretty, yet predictable vacation photos on a blog that is supposed to be about a bit more than that.

When trips are planned as travel, good travel stories are inevitable. But when you haven’t seen your husband in a long time and he’s been working super hard, I guess vacations are allowed too. When I go to Dubai next week, I hope to do a little better. But this time it will have been almost two months since I’ve seen Andy and sometimes just chit-chatting by a pool is time well spent even if you are somewhere foreign.

I suppose it all just depends on the company you keep – and when you’re with someone you love, that company can’t be beat.

Our beach bungalow in Siquijor.

Our beach bungalow in Siquijor.

11 responses to “Travel Fail: Why sometimes a fail can still be pretty great

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