WHEN Mama was alive, she often worried about where my next adventure would take me—not that I was ever reckless but in my youth, you could say I felt mostly fearless.
I first traveled overseas on my own at 21 and I have to credit my parents for their progressive thinking at a time when most of their peers thought them mad.
Funnily, my parents seemed more liberal when I was young. As I grew older, they became fiercely protective. My mother’s constant refrain—“The world has changed. It is not the same as before. It has become more dangerous.”
Well, I wanted to retort—so have I.
I remember the time I was meeting up with my cousin at an apartment address in Buenos Aires. My mother was beside herself. “You don’t even speak the language!” “I’ll be fine,” I told her. And I was.
I made it to Buenos Aires, Torres del Paine, Iguazu Falls, Perito Moreno Glacier, Isla de Pascua and even to the next continent—to the factory outlets of New Jersey.
I get my wild streak from my father who in his youth was infinitely more irrepressible than me. At 17, he sailed the Philippine seas with only oars to power his boat and the stars to guide him. One fateful day, he was captured by the Japanese Imperial Army.
Every day, according to my aunt, my paternal grandmother would sit by the shore and wait for my father to return. And he did. After one month of incarceration. And one daring escape. I cannot imagine the agony my grandparents had to go through.
So I’m really quite a lamb compared to my father. Still, my adventures don’t make him any less distraught. And as the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he knows he can’t stop me. So he resorts to simply chiding me gently, “If you’ve tried it already, don’t do it again.”
And this goes for all adventure activities I’ve undertaken—like zip lining, para sailing, para gliding, white water rafting, hot air ballooning, etc. But he’s completely banned me from bungee jumping—that’s moot now, anyway.
So now I stick to more sedate adventures like hiking, trekking and well... climbing volcanoes. I do want to give my father as well as my doctors, peace of mind.
My mother was the complete opposite of my father. She was a bookworm who didn’t care for the outdoors and wasn’t into “our kind of adventures.” She often feared for our safety, but her love for us was greater than her fears.
She bought me a skateboard when I wanted one and no girl in my entire school had one. She egged my father to let us go so we could experience the world. It was actually she who planted the seed of wanderlust. And I have never been the same again.
Now that Mama is gone, she need not worry about where my next adventure will take me because she can now watch over me wherever I go. And because... well, while I can still light a fire, I no longer feel fearless.