Come back to me after twelve months. Maybe then, I will have the guts to call myself a travel writer. For now, I just happen to be this wandering person who loves going around and putting into words the exciting, surreal, funny, bittersweet, and gratifying images that go with traveling.
I wouldn’t also say that I teach for a living, since my meager salary as a college instructor in one of the state universities in the country won’t even be enough to cover my hospital expenses to keep me alive. But then again, it’s my only source of living, so this is where your taxes go. It just also dawned on me this year that I want to write again, so I also contribute to VERA Files on the side. So yeah, I write.
I imagine how turning 30 can drive some people to alter their lives, if only to use my own life as a gauge for saying such. So count this site as an aging (and I use that word in the most positive tone I could) 29-year-old person’s attempt at changing his life. Or the world. Or the universe. Or his neighbor’s backyard.
I embrace everything that is Filipino in general, and Bicolano, in particular. I have a love-hate relationship with Donsol, my hometown. If you’re not familiar with Donsol, it’s south of Luzon, and often goes by its moniker “Whale Shark Capital of the World.” Swimming with its whale sharks has been dubbed by the travel guidebook Lonely Planet as “the quintessential Philippines adventure,” and I am here to tell you why. Being at a place where the sky meets the sea brings me peace.
I devour food. I devour food so much that I can eat the same food for days, or weeks, until I start to look or smell like the food that I fancy. This is the reason why I recently found myself on a hospital bed after three days of pigging out on Carcar lechon and chicharon (no pun intended).
I am not very good with language. I’ve been living in Baguio for almost eight years now and the only sensical sentence I can deliver in Ilocano is: Mabalin nga buludin dyay tulbek ti Vams, Ate Jovy? Which loosely means: Can I borrow the key to the Vams room, Ate Jovy? Lame, right?
And don’t even talk to me in French. Of course I know the basic merci, bon appetit, oui, but to save us both from embarrassment, don’t make me say Voulez-vous coucher avec moi in the middle of a friendly dinner. Truth is, I fall in love with a conversation which language I really do not have a grasp of. Scary, I know.
Given the nature of my work, I try not to talk about those people whose names have been immortally inscribed on media literacy golden books when I am with friends or out on a date, but when you engage me and show interest when you hear Silent Orality for the first time like it’s the best media theory out there, I might just change my mind. Or do a facepalm.
I’d like to believe I am genuinely interested in people since 99.9% of traveling entails being with people of different ages (that’s just my own calculation, of course). I love being surrounded by kids because, as one person puts it, “they are so sure about what they’re doing that it makes me feel like it’s going to be fine.” I dance together with my subjects as I try to capture them on camera even if that means they get to kick me in the butt just so they can continue their intense routine in the middle of a street dancing competition. Yes, I am crazy like that.
And while I advocate using different kinds of hat and shawl, or pashmina, and sunglasses, as you travel, I do not personally like putting on sunblocks or sunscreens. I do not understand why, so don’t give me that look.
Love and light, everyone! Go, juanderlust!
Amer R. Amor, the new kid in town
- Photo taken by D. Palao with a Canon 550d (Palawan, 2011).