Saturday, July 30, 2011

In breathless praise of the slow life

I'm typing this out by the infinity pool of a resort in Batangas with my feet on the wicker table and a truly marvelous sunset and seaview in front of me. The Travelife TV team is shooting a segment of our upcoming television show, Travelife's Frequent Flier, here and I have several minutes before dinner to relax, to continue working on the magazine and appreciating nature's beauty.

It's my nth hotel in my nth destination in a matter of weeks; and amidst the perpetual packing and unpacking, I'm now beginning to realize that perhaps the only thing constant in my life these days is that I'm never home. So instead, I've learned how to carry home and office with me everywhere I go. Yes, the venue has become immaterial as I've acquired the necessary logistics and learned to constantly operate on Manila time, work under all circumstances and provide instant feedback to my team regardless of where in the world I am. And, more importantly, I've gotten into the mindset needed for a professional perpetually on-the-go.

Right now I'm working a few meters from the beach, but last week it was at several airport lounges and before that by a coffee shop on an icy lake in Japan. Meanwhile, last month I was either answering emails from a luxury resort in Thailand or from the deck of a cruise ship anchored off Sandakan, Malaysia. Many people take business trips occasionally, but few are like me, truly on a never-ending one. I'm on a plane somewhere every week, and loving it.


But as the world moves closer towards seamless connectivity, constant business travel will become the norm. This may be the new way of travel and work in the 21st century as these two concepts merge. I like to describe it as multi-tasking combined with multi-tripping -- meaning going on a never-ending journey while maintaining work and life uninterrupted. For global travelers, this will eventually be the only way to live.

To travel sometimes means a fun holiday. However, endless travel without the work to show for it simply becomes an escape from reality; while constant travel at the expense of one's personal life would be just sad. To have a life and to continue work while on the move is the real challenge for today’s business warriors -- but that's what it means to truly have a Travelife.


With a different venue every other day and nothing to anchor you but luggage and a passport, it's easy to lose one's self and to just exist on a series of superficial encounters. But while there's always such a danger, constant travel also offers the valuable opportunity of finding one's self through extraordinary experiences. It often happens that by coming into contact with other cultures and by being able to contrast these with one's own, one gets a better grasp of his or her reality.

Seeing another country and coming up close and personal with a set of values so different from and yet quite similar to one's own can make a person more fully understand what they stand for and what's important to them. Also, there are many valuable lessons to learn from people who live in another way.



M-W-F, 5 to 6 pm

from September 2

This is what happened in April, when I flew to beautiful Sri Lanka with the Travelife TV team to shoot a series of television episodes. It was a fast-paced schedule that was so jampacked with activities that I had a total of about 30 minutes for shopping throughout the entire week. But we had the most amazing adventures and also the most incredible fun. Our dinners were nonstop laughing events, precious memories of times when work is fun and fun is work.

I've been to some of the most exotic places on this planet, but Sri Lanka was largely an unknown entity; so I was very excited to discover more about this island nation. In the process, I acquired than data about a place or a culture; I learned about myself.

From the outset, Sri Lanka charmed us completely with its pristine nature, laid-back lifestyle and friendly people. We spent a week crisscrossing the country on one-lane roads that we reluctantly shared with motorbikes, elephants and the odd peacock. Coming from a highway culture and a life of perpetual breathlessness, it was initially maddening to have to literally slow down; but eventually we learned to keep pace with the animals and to like it.



And this is where I had an epiphany: the fast pace of life enables us to reach our goals quicker and to aim higher; but it's the slowness that allows us to appreciate what we already have. A good balance will make most of us happy.

There's wisdom in living in sync with nature's rythmns and in going with the flow and following our own cycles; there’s peace in accepting one's fate. This is a philosophy that we who live in a 24-hour metropolis don't naturally imbibe, but it's just one of the many lessons this never-endingly breathless Travelifer learned while journeying through Sri Lanka.

This appears in the June-July 2011 issue of


still on sale everywhere now.


with Margarita Fores
and the Embassy of Italy & Bacchus Epicerie
September 8 at Whitespace

TRAVELIFE Gastronomic Tour of Italy
September 17-25

For reservations and information, please contact:
Bernice or Rachel at TRAVELIFE
813-8400/ 892-2620


No comments:

Post a Comment