Solo Camp On Scout Island
You were remote on a still-sleepy, fringed beach of a private, luxurious resort down south part of the archipelago. Here satisfying your vacation-craving for lazy days on an inclined beach chair. Its pace lends yourself to long days spent sunbathing. And nights spent tucking into just-caught seafood along the waterfront. This might seem the picture-perfect holiday. But could it be still perfect if you were on the opposite? No beach umbrellas to shade the sun off your head. No waiter who brings you a frosted glass of beer. Not even a resort to retreat in the evening for a wanted shower? You were hungry and you needed to hunt for food. And on the first time, you killed a feral goat. How gruesome?
Squeezing its windpipe and then bashing its head using a clam shell. In order to survive, how would you survive?
Outside was an unexpected gift of rain. I nestled in my usual chair, cozy in a blue stripe-printed blanket. Sat entranced in a bowl of popcorn, my eyes glued to the box almost turning square. I am on blank staring face, engrossed and transfixed. Tears streaming down my face.
I was never going to get off that island. I was going to die there, totally alone. I was going to get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So, I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I, I couldn’t even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over nothing! And that’s when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing.
End. Cast Away.
On a number of occasions, I was asked what I would take on a deserted island. I think what is needed is a degree of common sense. If I found myself trapped, I should be adaptable, focused and positive, so it would make survival a reality. But the struggle was real and surviving was not that easy. In Chuck Noland’s commendable persistence, I planned to pen my own solo island expedition. Why for incessant months, I deliberately readied myself. Fostering skills from readings and joining a series of excursions. But apart from getting the experience, it was really because for solitude. It came hard for me finding privacy in this constantly connected world. And it became a lost art long gone.
It was a postcard perfect day in midweek of March when I cast myself miles away North of Luzon bound for Scout Island. I was on my inaugural solo camp out. At Lucap wharf, where congested with boats, of which one seemed like it was straight out of a children’s picture book. But an old-timer. Resembling to its captain. In his unkempt hair and tanned, craggy skin, both could not deny their oldness. I am Thalassophobic and the sea made me rattled, especially riding an old boat with an old man along. Fear accelerated inside my head. I wanted it to slow so I can breathe, but it would not. Yet struggling for composure, but not embarrassed, I asked Mang Hernan. Is the boat safe for sailing? Yes, he said. Yet, convinced, I stubborn asking the same question again. The sea is our friend, we are safe. He added. In his consoling remark, I step forward little by little. I kept going while collecting my confidence back before boarding. I worked my way neglecting the crippling and phobic tendencies.
To the waters, we ran smoothly as what he has promised. Meters close, there an island rose on the horizon swarmed with a semi green blanket. Although it could have been more than half a mile big, but the view behind exuded a humble refuge. I dock off quarter past two and the heat rained down on me like a breath of hell. Against this scorched sand. I walked with my black backpack on, gripped was my snorkeling gear. My right hand loaded with parts of the tent in the purple bag. I went the to the left, higher end tip part, where I set my camp. It was underneath the trees facing with five footer rock. In about twelve steps right below, a tiny cavern amazed me, feeling as if I owned an exclusive, private indoor pool.
Fixed was my camp, I laid my sarong on the beach and took a nap. But minutes have passed, I awoke by heat and the sun still on its might. I imagined what Adam Jones went through when he was trapped on a deserted island for nine long years. Surviving the huge storm after passing the Panama Canal. And it felt like I was alone in years. Did time stop? The constant feeling of being deserted on an island, I started talking to myself. Was there something wrong with me? I am bored, that is why. I have nothing to do, but do nothing, and somehow, I liked it. Perhaps, I have never been in this state of laid back for the past long time ago. My day was so accustomed to getting myself busy without stopping.
And if I did, it felt I was unworthy. It was so easy to get caught up in the rat race. Doing what I supposed to do because that’s how I was told life supposed to be lived. I am stuck in this fast forward world. In an environment which obsessed with speed and I am well marinated by its culture. The idea was powerful and I am powerless over from it. Affecting my well-being without noticed. I related from Carl Honore’s talk on TED.com – In Praise of Slowness.
He was right. Speed burned me out. All along I am allure hurrying life. And glad my wake up call happened here. I should better give myself a shot to live a good life from now on, instead of living a fast life.
The feeling drawn me to the sense of freedom. I am out of the box and the day held limitless potentials. So I stood up and ran fast. Barefooted, shirtless with messy hair and arms wide open on the sandy, white shore. I dipped myself in the blue waters. Beneath a ceiling clear sky, I swam like winning twenty-one Olympic gold medals, equal of Michael Phelps. I snorkeled. I walked, then walked far while singing to the tune of Phil Collins’ – Another Day In Paradise. While imprinting my foot-marks in the sand. I played with the waves. I ran after them and they ran after me. Then I sat on the endpoint shore with my collected pebbles and threw into the sea while shouting like a juvenile. It was independence. Not anxious, neither awful to my solitary. I care no one and for anything. Not even concerned about how I looked like and my action was. I was absent from judgement. It was all real. And I did not come disguised as such. I felt nothing more perfect than what the current moment had carried me into. I see beyond the illusion that I recognized my life to its highest good outside inhibition. Regardless of how useful or useless something appeared to be that I should love myself boundless.
No more tourist boats passing by and the daytime visitors. All back to Lucap, so as Mang Hernan. In transitory, silence slams Lingayen Gulf in peace; unpolluted from noise. Likewise, I was silent but excited, waiting for the sunset. And the sun started to prelude in dawn. Its majestic artwork painted the sky in different strokes of red, pink and yellowish tints. Leaving over was a scenic backdrop behind of these hundreds of islands. It was a sunset of relief, matchless from anywhere.
Darkness hurt my mobility. Inside its dimness, only lighted by the solar lamppost, I ate up my self-made tuna sandwich for dinner. The silence was deafening by now. Seated in front of the tent’s door, the summer night aglow me with its brightness. I watched the stars blinked and flickered away. Yet they always returned like rogues hiding away in the shadows. Sharing the spot was the moon, patrolling in fullness. Calmed from the earlier humid air. I crawled into my sleeping bed while lulled by the singing insects.
In my shelter, frightened with the White Lady and Aswang. Every snapping twig made me jump. But contentment disabled any thoughts of creepy night camp stories. This day, no matter what I did, I will never change how I lived it because I was not giving up my freedom to do whatever it made me happy.
In order to survive, I dared courage to take control of me. Even It was a day richest on fears. My world has expanded when I allowed courage to expand. In order to survive, I rejected failure to stop me. I did not stop reaching the greatest joy I promised to myself. Beating doubts and breaking through any obstacles that stood along the way.
In order to survive, I renounced luxury and lived in simplicity. In mere possession and non-possession, I learned to think, speak, and live as an abundant person and celebrated what I have during of having less.
In order to survive, I avoided excesses. I needed harmony and balance. Even good things attained without moderation, could become a source of my misery and suffering.
In order to survive, I mastered myself. Resisting any external force that might confine my thought and action. I stopped deceiving myself, believing only what was personally useful and convenient.
In order to survive, I completed liberty necessitates a struggle within. I battle to subdue negative emotional forces that prevented my healthy existence.
In order to survive, I approached myself with honesty and thoroughness. Maintaining a kind of spiritual hygiene. I stopped the blame-shifting for my errors and just lived a good life.
In order to survive, I redirected my attention to being ready, willing, and prepared for the beauty, wonder, connections, good fortune, and favorable circumstances that were mined if I am eager to work and be open to it.
In order to survive, I stayed alive. I kept breathing.
In order to survive, I survived.