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Passport

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I am a traveler in the course of literature.

I have walked the busy streets of New York, spent sunsets in the Caribbean. Wearing a red kimono, I watched the cherry blossoms that same year I danced with Zulus around a bonfire. I have witnessed how romantic a city can be from atop the Eiffel. I have discovered what’s more to Sydney than just an opera house, to Hong Kong than just glistening skyscrapers.

Thus far, nothing beats the sheer sentiment of having to light the Christmas sky with fireworks, in the University of the Philippines.

Circumnavigating this crazy world may seem a tough, expensive task, but I am proud to have conquered it at an early age through the power of books.

Pardon me, though, for I haven’t bought any souvenir; I only have memories, lessons, and possibilities. There are no faded photographs, vintage stamps, native shawls, or porcelain vases. Not even chocolate bars. Yet, in every land I visited, there were traces of me: footprints and friends.

Indeed, I have met friends vulnerable and never realistic. We had small talks and huge confessions. We shared dreams and desires, promises and pledges. The Greek gods and goddesses, Jocasta in “Oedipus Rex,” Brida, Iome in “Tribal Scars,” Madame Loisel of “The Necklace,” Julia of “Dead Stars.” And in all those meet-ups I am proud to have made legacies. That my truest self was once there, in the overlap of what truly is and what might be, of the real and the ideal, for the adventurous world of mine and those of the masterpieces have collided on crossroads: From there, the two worlds became one.

The travel days feed my soul with life’s greatest pleasures. Like food, they actually encompass a wide range of tastes—sweet, brilliant, melancholic, rousing, haunting. Some meals I haven’t finished, others I don’t dare miss. I have grown biases for favorites and pet peeves. Some propel me to continue savoring, others I am content with a one-time appetite encounter.

It is unlike any expedition. I am in a universe with no defined limits, no arrivals and departures, no trains waiting, no tourist guides, just pieces of parchment sewn together, and myself. Unlike in any other trip, there are no worries of missing the bus, or getting lost in a place I had never heard of. In fact, straying from the itinerary can occasionally be more fun.

Enough of the daydreaming. I am holding no map but a cup of caffeine, sitting in no plane but on a couch, reading no passport but a book. With the sun dawning on me, I must be home, waking from deep slumber for yet another inevitable adventure. And though it may just be one colorful reverie, I know that making the most of every chapter and turning page after page will get me to those places someday, somehow.

Maria Feona Imperial, 18, is a geology sophomore at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.


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