Alternatively titled 'Walking to Walter Mart'...
As I've previously mentioned, Sophia and I love to walk - and the community think we're a bit crazy for "walking 1km?!? To town!?!" But we've taken the hobby a bit further, hiking way beyond the boundary of Cabiao (and even out of the province of Nueva Ecija- but ssshhh because, technically speaking, this is breaking the 'rules!')
"Why would you do this in 35 degree heat?" you ask... Because I think we are a both a bit crazy and have a mutual love for adventure and the outdoors. (NB. It's also helping me develop a beautiful tan!) In my opinion, there's no better way to explore the world around you than by walking. You not only see- but interact- with the people and the places that you pass through. The more I see, the more anxious I get to see more- curious and questioning the way people work, live and behave. What's most exciting is that we never know where we are going to go next. We leave our home, decide on a direction and then we just go- without a plan, a map or an ETA. I can tell you that it feels so liberating to literally 'go with the flow', seeing what path forms ahead and following it. Our approach to hiking reflects how I want to live my life- not planning ahead or pre-empting the future but just taking what is thrown at me and rolling with it.
Today we took the road straight ahead instead of going left. We ended up walking 20km and two towns away to a small mall in Gapan- home to Walter Mart and other Western 'wonders' (normally a 30min jeepney ride away!) The final stretch was reminiscent of my time running the London Marathon because the fast food chain 'Jollibee' had countdown markers, informing us we had 5km, 3km and 1km to go. After all that walking the 'Jollibee' logo shone like a mirage in the distance and made me question my sanity- was the sweltering heat matched with my desire for a ice-cold Coke making me mad? Thankfully my eyes did not lie, and as we stumbled through the final few metres we realised that our long walk had been rewarded with a beacon of hope, a saving grace, a final cheer...in the form of a fast food 'oasis.' As you can see from the photo, I was ecstatic to meet 'Jollibee' himself (a man in a bee costume) and I gave him a rather enthusiastic hug. Hard work rewarded with a happy meal. Tragic I know- but if you try any sort of exercise in this climate you'll understand how challenging it can be!
After nearly four hours of walking, Sophia and I sat in 'Jollibee' covered in dust, nursing our aching legs and demolishing our fries- but smiling all the while. We felt of a sense of achievement- because as Sophia would say, "we got out of the box" and tried something new.
We took the road less travelled.