Instead of worrying about how I would feel when our worldtrip was over, I was worrying about whether anyone would want to pick us up with all of our bags, panniers and bicycles. In Cervantes, the town in the valley below Layog farm, we took a public van headed to Baguio, on our way out of the Philippines. In the van, we paid for 5 seats in total, 3 seats for our bags, paying in total $20 for a 4 hour journey.
In Baguio, a taxi grabbed us and soon I was shrieking over the relative luxury of our private room at the YMCA hostel. The room was new, a shower with hot water, towels, wifi, and almost quiet.
We shopped in Baguio for a day for friends and family back home, a truly touristic experience…only, we mostly did it like the locals, eating at the ‘budget’ food concession area in the open markets, walking ourselves everywhere, and gently haggling for most goods.
2 days later, we arrived in the capital, Manila. Stepping out on to the tarmac of the bus station, the extreme light and heat were the only things that mattered. Well, and the fact that my knee was suddenly not functioning very well, and all I could do was hop and limp to a wall to sit at while Erik ran around with all our bags, and tried to get a reasonable taxi rate.
At the airport, as we waited 5 hours for our flight, slowly working our way down ticketing lines, baggage check, security check, and at the departure gate, it was dawning on me that this, this was it.
I was leaving the Philippines. I was not headed to another exotic location. I wasn’t going to Papua New Guinea like I’d hoped, I wasn’t going to stay with tribals. I wasn’t going to cycle tour for a while. The trip was almost over.
Our first flight took us to Taipei, Taiwan, and the airport was a like a museum, in honor of everything Taiwanese from traditional farming and orchid gardens to Hello Kitty and Samsung.
Our next flight, a Boeing 747 with over 500 people headed to Seattle, USA, arrived safely after 10 hours flying high over the Pacific ocean.
In the back seat of Chuck and Leslie’s car, Erik’s dad and step-mom, I recognized that we had made it, life and limb intact, bicycles and gear all with us, back to our home soil.
America. A place that so many people would risk life and limb just to reach. America. My Home.
And already, a month has passed since we’ve been back.