The Escape List

In her article in the Philippine Star today, Lucy Torres-Gomez asked, “What is your own little escape?”  That simple question got me to thinking, and inspired me to come up with this next post.

I really love to travel :).  When I was little, my mom used to work for Pan American Airways (then evenutally, United Airlines) so my family was very fortunate to have had multiple (free) opportunities to “go see the world”.  And boy, did we take advantage of it!  I remember getting to visit my cousins in the States very often–not just during summers, but during semestral breaks as well because of my mom’s travel benefits.  We also got to go on junkets with her to Korea, Guam, Hawaii and Hong Kong.  When I got older, we took several trips to Europe as well.

Travel for me is not just associated with spending time with family–both immediate and extended–but also with educating one’s self and learning about the cultures of the world.  By exposing myself to a variety of people and customs, I have learned tolerance, appreciation of others’ uniqueness and  acceptance of points of view that are different from my own.  I guess that’s the reason why, as an adult, travel continues to be an imperative in my life.  Travel opened my eyes and gave me a different perspective about life and the world in general.  I can only hope that the H and I can provide A with the same opportunity as she grows up.

Lately, however, I’ve begun to associate travel with relaxation and escape. Especially on the days when “life” just gets a bit too much, I find myself always yearning to go away somewhere to recharge and unwind.  Recently, I’ve been hit hard with the travel bug, and I’ve been feeling the need to go somewhere–anywhere–as long as it will give me the respite (no matter how brief) I so badly need.

If given the chance, here are my top picks for our next (family) escape:

1. Boracay

This is the H’s “happy place”.  Recently, it’s become mine too.  We especially like staying at the Shangri-la, despite it being isolated from White Beach.  Not only are the amenities top notch, but the service is consistently spectacular!  And every time I’m here, no fail, I always manage to forget everything back home, and really relaaaaaax!  Sun and sand always have that effect on me 🙂

2. New York

New York is and always will be my second home.  I took my Masters Degree at NYU and lived here for 5 years.  This is actually a picture of the arch at Washington Square Park, NYU’s downtown landmark.  I walked past this everyday from the PATH train to the Education Building on Greene Street where I had my classes :).

I have so many wonderful memories of living in New York.  This is where I did most of my “growing up”, and where I learned to love and accept myself.  Living in the city also made me a more independent and confident person.  Everytime I have the opportunity to visit, I am always filled with happiness and excitement! The shopping, the museums, Broadway, picnics in Central Park, the restaurants–Haaay! New York, I will never, never, never grow tired of you.

3. Paris

Photo Credit: visitingdc.com

There is something about Paris that always leaves me wanting to come back for more.  While the H has never been, I’m lucky to have had several opportunities to visit the “City of Lights” with my family.  I must say, I am obsessed with everything Parisienne!  I love how everyone and everything seems to look so effortlessly chic all the time.  The cafes are so trendy and great for people watching.  The museums are filled with the most fabulous art!  The shopping is truly wonderful and fashion forward!  And most of all, Paris is just sooooo romantic!  The H and I are already planning our trip there next year.  Our second honeymoon, perhaps? 🙂

4. Barcelona

Barcelona, for me, is the complete opposite of Paris.  While it is also a cosmopolitan city–with fabulous restaurants, shopping and a happening night life–I think the vibe is so much more relaxed and laid back.  Barcelona also has a little bit of everything–the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, the city and the beach…lots of things to fascinate and stimulate a person like me. And did I mention the art?  It is fabulous!  Gaudi is a genius! While his art is not appreciated by everybody, I personally feel that the Sagrada Familia is a sight to behold.  Barcelona is truly one of the most wonderful cities that I’ve ever been to. I would not mind taking a trip down there again soon.

5. Kyoto

Photo Credit: concierge.com

Among all these places, Kyoto is the only one I’ve never been to. I’ve heard so much about it, though, and the feedback I’ve gotten is that it truly is a beautiful and enchanting place.  Although most of the sights to see here are temples, there’s something about the serenity and discipline of the Japanese culture, plus the fact that it is steeped in tradition, that calms and attracts me and piques my curiosity.

So there you have it, my escape list.  To quote Lucy yet again,

Little escapes that can be had almost instantly have an appeal all their own. Whether it is as simple as the greatness of doing nothing, or the calm of doing something relaxing, they never fail to remind me that for the most part, life is beautiful as it is good. They are like charm bracelets — you create your own story and wearing it is a pleasure all its own. If someone else enjoys it along with you then that just doubles the joy that can be had.

I couldn’t agree more.  Time to redeem those miles, Honey!!! Hahaha!

Hope you have a great week ahead, folks!

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