Why Girl Off the Beaten Tracks?

Why did I call this blog Girl Off the Beaten Tracks? The places I’ve been to and the things I’m sharing are not exactly “off beaten”.

There’s actually a story to this title.

While I was still working in Singapore, me and a couple of girlfriends from church decided to do a one day trip to Palau Ubin. We took a boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to a small jetty in Palau Ubin. We went around the island by bike and I must say, it was the closest thing to nature trip that I have ever been to. I don’t really do nature trips. I prefer places with “proper” tourist amenities such as working restrooms, paved paths, refreshment stands and a buggy to take you around in case you get tired of walking. It was my first time to bike on uphill and downhill dirt paths. It was my first close encounter with “unrestrained” wild life. Fortunately, it was just a monkey. I would’ve died of fear if it were a wild boar which we were told roam freely in the island.

But the rewards of the grueling bike ride were breathtaking. We saw the bluest lake I’ve ever seen. We walked through the longest boardwalk-on-water I’ve ever been to. By my standards with the places I’ve been to, it was really mother nature at its best for me. I might be exaggerating here but that just goes to show how much of a city person I am. I went home seriously tired and sore. I took 2 muscle relaxant and woke up the following afternoon. It was Sunday and I already missed church service. I  was checking my mobile phone for any decent photos taken during the trip when I felt a sudden burst of inspiration and decided to start a blog about the things I try for the first time. It took a whole afternoon figuring out a name so I decided to edit the photos hoping that would inspire me for a really nice blog name. I came upon a photo of me and my friends biking towards an uphill path, just us girls on the road. Then it hit me: Off the Beaten Paths. Like I would do something like “I go where you don’t go” (read it with sarcasm). But it was catchy. I just added “Girl” since the blog will be all about the things I’ve been doing.

We will always find inspiration in almost anything we do.

A few years went by since that afternoon, I started my blog. Life caught up with me so when life dropped me, I resort to doing the things I’ve been putting off for a very long time. One of it is writing. I still have a long list: a papercutting project, watercolor painting project, editing my “To Be Sorted Out” photos and my adult “keep calm” coloring book.

This blog isn’t going to be about nature walks or trek to Mount Everest. I will definitely fill it with lots with things I’ve been up to and a few travel articles. I have such a huge collection of photos of hotels I’ve stayed at so I might write some useful hotel reviews. Seriously, we need more un-biased people reviewing hotels as I myself rely on this reviews in choosing where to stay in any country I’m going to. And somebody please review the breakfast buffet spreads at hotels. Anything “with breakfast” on their room package better be worth the extra dollars.

So guys, that’s the story behind the story. We will always find inspiration in almost anything we do. Who would’ve thought a trip out of the city can spur something so creative. Or just something. I will always be grateful for that trip. But don’t expect me to do it again.

Note: I will try to look for my photos of this trip and will update this blog post once I find them…Or was it inside the hard disk that went to the ex? Hmm…



The Closet Writer

I started writing when I was in high school. I would keep journals and notebooks filled with poetry. I would secretly enjoy writing exercises in school such as essays, book reports and even writing my own autobiography. I actually enjoyed writing my 4th year thesis though I will never admit it at the time I was writing it.

I’m not “constantly” writing. Life caught up with me and I was forced to leave my old room—my writing haven—and out into the real world. I would spent more time on work and friends and less time on the things I normally enjoy doing: writing, drawing and reading. I would, however, resort to writing for a time. I wrote quite a lot on relationships and finding love again after a very bad breakup. It was a nice piece. Too bad it was posted on Friendster Blogs and I wasn’t able to back it up before they revamped the site. I found another boy to spend time with and again, writing was forgotten. Then I got pregnant and got married. During prenatal months, I would have all the time to myself with nothing to do. What better way to spend idle hours than by writing. I wrote on anything from the pregnancy and marriage to taking care of my first child. See Typical Pinay for my previous blog.

Now I’m more of a sporadic writer—sudden burst of words and phrases every now and then. Plus, I’m with someone else now.

From time to time, I will have these ideas for a short story. I will play the entire story in my head while showering, riding a bus or drinking coffee staring out into the window. I will have the opening scenes slowly climb to a climax and gradually descend to a beautiful ending. There are times when I will actually think of an epilogue or prologue just so I can have outtakes from the main storyline. But I will never get down to actually writing them down and immortalizing them into black and white.

I will have all these plans of returning to the things I love like writing, drawing and reading. But life would, yet again, suck me back into the nuances of daily living. So I stopped planning altogether. Planning for my side projects that is. Mothers never stop planning, be it career, home or the kids’ future.

But I’m writing now, am I?