ADDICTED TO TRIPS
It’s all about the experience and not just the destination
‘The Japanese are sticklers for keeping tradition. I envy them for that’
Afriend of mine loves to travel, be it to local places or overseas. We share the same passion. But while she loves to do it by boarding planes, I don’t. If I could, I’d rather travel by land—as in driving to Laoag City some 500km up north, or to Legazpi City some 500km down south. Tiresome, you say? No, not at all. Especially if you enjoy what you do. Driving is such an elixir to me that I’d rarely feel fatigued despite long hours on the road behind the wheel. And I’d rather that I myself drive rather than anyone else, all the way to our destination of choice.
Crazy, but that’s the way this dude of yours is made. Sometimes impossible. Sometimes too difficult to handle. Sometimes sane.
Of course it’s different if the trip requires air transport, or even a sail at sea. But any which way we do it, my friend and I still travel together. No choice. We still believe that we are a flexible pair. But once she and I hit land and the final destination is reachable by car, I’d reject a water sail or a chopper hop, even if the trip would be faster using either of the two.
We are both stubborn. And sometimes, we’d even go our separate ways—she by boat or helicopter, and me by car. We’d meet up at the hotel later, and have a big laugh—and a huge booze party afterward. If there are other guys in the bar, we’d offer one round for each. “On us,” we’d shout out to the bartender. As John Lennon sang, “Life is very short and there’s no time for fussin’ and fightin’, my friend.”
There are many ways to make ourselves happy in life. Always, it is in the reinventing, in being able to adapt to things, to make living worthwhile. By reinventing, you are willing to change, if only to soothe frayed nerves as a result of sticking, unnecessarily, to a decision found defective later on.
There is one side of my friend that I find genuinely insane: She refuses to go back to a place she has been to before. Whether it be to grand Rome or gay Paris, romantic San Francisco or foggy London, her answer to a proposed return trip is always a resounding “No!” She’s been to many places in the Philippines and to a number of memorable spots around the world.
In one trip of ours to Melbourne, I got the scare of my life.
Upon landing in the foreign land, we hired a car at the airport for our own use. Remember how much I love traveling by land? However, this time, we were in right-hand-drive Down Under. I had trepidations about the drive, so my travel companion took the wheel. “Courage, my friend,” she said.
In one railroad crossing, we almost got crushed to death by a speeding train: She had turned left instead of right. She missed a headon collision just in the nick of time. I didn’t say a word during the rest of the ride. But at the hotel that evening, we had a big laugh. And then we laughed again. Lose the ability to laugh at yourself and you’re gone to the dogs. The boozing that followed the continuous laughter consumed us till the dead of night.
Next morning, my friend and I decided to surrender the car via the hotel concierge. And instead, we took a cab each time we went out. It was obviously better to be safe than sorry.
She never flew back with me to Melbourne again—didn’t I say she hates going back to places she has visited? Me, I don’t mind at all. My travel motto has always been, “It’s not the destination, but the trip.” Every journey in life is a new beginning, discovery, and experience different from past ones.
Like this trip seen clearly now on my radar: the Tokyo Motor Show. The biennial motoring event’s 45th edition will be from October 27th to November 5th this year in the Japanese capital. Every car nut’s dream show in the ramen capital of the world.
I can think of only one reason for its staying power: The Japanese are sticklers for keeping tradition. I envy them for that—they just don’t easily end what they have started.
I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: I don’t get tired of covering, visiting, the Tokyo Motor Show. Since I got there for the first time in 1993 upon the breakthrough Mitsubishi invite of Mel Dizon and Froilan Dytianquin, there’s been no stopping me. Nissan was my next host in 1995 through Tess Guanzon, and Honda in 1997 through the inimitable Arnel Doria in partnership with the now New Zealand-based Tintin Reyes.
After Toyota got me aboard in 1999, I thought that was it. My Tokyo sojourns were done. The top four companies had gotten me all to the Japanese capital, so I thought there was no more reason to be back in the Land of The Rising Sun. Zero returns in the offing.
But lo and behold, Toyota, through Vince Socco, invited me again in 2001. And again in 2003. And again in 2005. And again in 2007. And so on and so forth. So consistent was Toyota in collaring me for the trip that the rest of the pack seemed to have conspired to avoid me like the bubonic plague.
To be fair, however, I’ve always had this battle cry that the first company to extend me an invite gets my immediate yes. No questions. But alas, since 2001, it has always been Toyota firing the first shot—and the bait being dangled pretty consistently is always done way, way ahead of the opening of the Tokyo event. So, can anyone blame me?
I’ve had it calendared already—my 10th straight Tokyo Motor Show under the Toyota banner if plans won’t go awry. Anyone topping that insane streak gets a free bottle of Hibiki— from Vince Socco.