Tonight I was invited to dinner by an ambassador of an important country to the Philippines and his wife, and we three spent the evening at Chef Jessie Sincioco's restaurant at Rockwell Club. It was a truly enjoyable evening of very frank discussions about almost everything under the Philippine sun -- and then some.
In fact, the three of us had such a stimulating conversation that it took a while before we could actually begin eating. Then we ate quite slowly -- or was it just me? -- because there really is no time to eat when one is talking.
We were that engrossed in discussing travel, society, culture and politics. All these topics are actually interrelated under a large umbrella that I might call "a great interest in the world at large"-- and fortunately, we three shared this passion so there was no shortage of things to talk about.
First they asked me about the current state of affairs in the country. Aha. I don't usually talk about stuff like this; but when I'm asked my opinion, I answer quite frankly -- and I think from this point on, we all somehow knew we would get on well together and have a very stimulating evening. I ended up telling them a compact version of my life story, since it somehow relates to politics as well.
ENJOYING LIFE AND DEALING WITH STRESS
Then, out of the blue, the ambassador said: "You seem so happy and gay. How do you cope with stress?"
I smiled and said without hesitation: "I'm always pretty stressed out, actually. My life's too busy and I can't turn off the movie in my head at night."
He asked: "So what do you do?"
I was only half-joking when I said: "A lot of massages." Of course, lots of massages help. But I think the key is living in the present and focusing on whatever is at hand. I find that it's when my mind is carrying a hundred things all at the same time that I really feel the pressure.
But when I take things one step at a time and focus only on whatever I'm doing or whoever I'm with at that particular moment, I'm pretty able to deal with my stress and enjoy my life immensely.
People who work with me say my philosophy is: "Out of sight, out of mind." It's true. Once something or someone passes out of my line of vision, I don't usually think about them again until they reappear.
MY FIRST LOVE
Of course we had to discuss travel, which is my raison d'etre -- the reason I get up with joy every morning, and also the reason why I find it so hard to sleep at night. The wife and I very much like the same places -- Bhutan, Myanmar, and other exotic destinations that still have to be thoroughly discovered. At one point, I confessed to them that I'm planning to go to Peru in November and the wife almost dropped her fork, as she said: "I'm going with you!"
Oh, I would so love to have her as company as she seems adventurous and interested in everything; but someone else is already going to Peru with me and we're already happily planning our trip and looking at options. But I do hope to have the chance to travel with the ambassador's wife sometime, as she seems like great fun and also stimulating company.
Before we knew it, it was quite late. We'd manage to stretch a three-course meal to a pretty lengthy dinner, and I certainly had enjoyed their company immensely. I was exactly where I wanted to be and with who I wanted to be tonight. We promised to meet up again soon, as soon as I'm back from my trip to Prague.
Meeting them again is just something else to look forward to, in between our never-ending and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
TRAVELIFE MAGAZINE on Facebook