Traveling into the storm

Early this morning, a friend posted on her Twitter account that she and her husband and 11-month old son are still stranded at Incheon International airport. They were heading out to NYC since she’ll be joining the ING New York City Marathon, but flights to New York were among those cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully, it’ll soon be safe enough for everyone stranded to travel.

Traveling into a storm seems like an unexpected adventure that’s happening more of late. I imagine many travelers have experienced it over the years. For me though, it’s still a fairly uncharted experience.

Typhoon seasons aren’t new to me since I’ve lived in Manila for almost twenty years. Heavy rains, floods, and everything else that typhoons dish out are “normal”. But since coming home to typhoon-free Davao City three years ago, I’ve almost lost touch as to how inconvenient and nasty some storms can be.

Just last week, I traveled with the rains into stormy Butuan City. I didn’t realize that the non-stop and heavy rains that became our constant companion during the entire trip were caused by Typhoon Ofel. Apparently, Butuan was among the many cities in Ofel’s path.

For a traveler, bad weather is an inconvenient reality. I’m lucky that several trips in the past gave me the best possible conditions to explore new places. But looking at how the climate seems to be changing, it’s likely that travelers of today would have to brace for the possibility of landing right into the heart of a storm.

Stephen Fry’s words came to mind when I found myself thinking of ways to enjoy a town as a typhoon battered it:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It’s real.
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.

BUT

It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.

It’s really a matter of enjoying whatever any given day tosses at you. It’s futile to waste time wishing for the opposite of what exists in the now. And one thing that traveling gives is that reminder of how certain things are limited, like time spent experiencing more of an unfamiliar place.

The weather is just one of the many things that can ruin or create great moments. Investing all energies on the latter seems like the perfect choice.

To fellow travelers who at this moment might be heading out or stranded in the middle of the storm somewhere, I pray for safe travels, the resilience to embrace adversity and find joy from it, and the empathy and compassion for those who are suffering from Sandy’s aftermath.

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