The woods call me to wander, explore, and get lost in the depths of its bulky terrains. The turquoise seas, the lively evergreen marshes, and even the cold and snobby waterfalls greet me every time I take a step back from the world to fully see its wonders. The mountain cave's crooked teeth never fails to beam a smile and wave at me every time I take a hike up its bushy yet slippery slopes. All nature's elements are a friend of mine-- an indifferent friend that never talks but whose humble demeanor always lingers at the background of your head. But the woods approach me differently. They're eclectic. Not only do they call me; They invite me as well to abandon civilization and go back to the primitive ways of getting lost within its blistering barks and finding my way back home. I sat at the back of our little red car with my sisters. I leaned against the stained window. That was 7 years ago, I was 10 and afraid to leave chip crumbs on the car's upholstery as a clean freak. With that, we also had to tidy up soon as we near our destination. We were on our way to Pangasinan-- the home to the prolific "Hundred Islands" found crowding a single region among the festive 82 provinces of the Philippines. We were on a family road trip to a peachy remote area where a beach villa stood. It was our summer tradition to stay at that villa every March or April and catch up with my mom's close friend who owned that land. It's been 7 years since we last visited. I've got faint but great memories buried in that undisturbed beachfront property. On our dreadful 4-hour drive, we finally arrived to a familiar road that was enveloped with thin oak trees on both sides of the road. It was a panoramic view of what was once a small forest, now vacated for a farm ranch. I don't know what was going on with my mind then, but I still remember today how I was suddenly overcome with this desire to get lost in the woods. I wasn't trying to find ways to escape nor did I want to play pretend as a melodramatic explorer. I was driven by the simple fact that I wanted to wander off. Humans are designed as voyagers. We are adventurers of life. What had me stoked though was finding out my motive behind this impulsive and intrusive thought. I wasn't doing it to be some kind of scientist out and about to discover the world's rarest of the rare or the bizarro of the bizarre; Nor did I want to be an expeditioner that navigated the world's hardiest grounds. I was simply a kid with no thought but a fantasy to be alone and find comfort in nature. I was acting instinctually for no rhyme or reason than just to seek for Earth's unbothered beauty. For all I know, I might be Forrest Gump or an Earth Faerie in my last life. Fortunately, young me had common sense and never acted upon these fantasies. My family and I went on to travel a bunch abroad and locally after that. Things have changed. My desire to travel and consequently find myself lost have evolved into powering my passion to wanting to build beach resorts so that fellow wanderers like me still have a place to stay. After all that, I could never write a novel without an adventure or a cultural sequence to tell my readers. I tell a lot of stories, but this was the defining moment that reminded me that we are all capable to detach from modern society and come back to lay down on Earth. The woods call us. Its critters scream at us. They beg us to search for souls in its rooting terrains, only then to be trapped in nature's force that tells us that we cannot stray away from our roots.
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