By Francesca Escarraga
"I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side."
If someone asks you, "What do you want in life?" without a doubt, people including you would say, "To travel the world and be genuinely happy." You blurt it out as quickly as spending your whole paycheck planning for the next epic adventure.
Travelling is indeed a way of life. It gives you a euphoric feeling similar to taking the first bite of that truffle fries you have painstakingly deprived yourself of—once you start, you just can't stop.
For most people, a home may be a place full of remarkable memories, a comforting feeling, or simply a person they hold close to their heart. If you're like me, it comes in the form of airports, planes, and unfamiliar places. I deeply loved everything about the world, and in return, it provided me a home wherever I wandered.
I was privileged to grow up in a family that lives and breathes travelling. My wanderlust adventure began at the tender age of 8 months old. Unlike most kids, I spent my childhood going on business trips around the world with my parents—running through the fields of Salzburg, chasing pigeons in Vienna, camping in the great outdoors of Vancity, building sandcastles in Goa, enriching my palate with exotic spices in Thailand, and going on US coast to coast adventures to name a few.
Having a mom who has dedicated most of her life (28 years and counting) working in the airline industry made this all possible. If it weren't for her unfathomable sacrifice and perseverance, I may not have known the extraordinary life that existed beyond the horizon. The world awakened my soul and remarkably influenced my formative years far beyond the hallowed halls of learning. Who I am today is the sum of every country, culture, experiences, and relationships I've built in my travels; constantly honing me to be the best version of myself.
Despite the benefits that came along with it, it was not all clear skies and smooth-sailing times. For the most part of my childhood, I spent a lot of time bawling my eyes out while terribly clinging to my mom every time we exchanged goodbyes at the departure gate. I never quite understood as a child that letting your mom live her dream requires copious amounts of letting go.
It has become an endless loop of waiting, missing, and leaving. This is what it means to be a wanderer; to always take risks and to fully surrender yourself to the world in spite of the emotional turbulence that the people we love have to endure.
It was every Cathay kid's cross to bear. The struggle was real, so to speak. But on the upside, it raised a generation of independent, resilient, open-minded, and adventurous kids. After graduating from university, some people would be rewarded with material luxuries, but for me, I was given a pile of plane tickets to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. There was nothing more rewarding than investing in experiences. That first solo trip in my early 20's definitely unleashed parts of me I never knew existed. It was a crucial factor in making me realize the person I wanted to become. The kind that knows the value of faith, trust, sacrifice, perseverance, determination, humility, kindness, love, and the simple things. I became unstoppable. There may be no quick remedy for the pain that leaving brings, but now I truly understand that the good always outweighs the bad.
Shortly after returning home, I packed 20 years of my life in one suitcase, moved to another country, and never looked back since. In my new adventure, I was surrounded by people who had the same passion and thirst for life. Call it luck or fate, there was a strong binding element that brought us together; we were all Cathay kids. A typical catch up would always be like, "So, where have you been lately?" "Oh, I was just casually walking the streets of *says infinite list of countries known to mankind*." It would always revolve around new and exciting experiences.
A Cathay kid will ceaselessly inspire you to live a life full of adventure and substance; to let go of your fears and to find meaning in the beautiful chaos called life.
No matter where I go or how high I soar above the clouds, Cathay Pacific will always be my home away from home. There can be no companion better than people, like my mom, who go beyond their call of duty to provide comfort and service straight from the heart.
The pursuit of travel is truly one of the greatest pleasures in life. It brings people together, creates lasting memories, and helps people find their purpose. It is a gift that keeps on giving, to say the least. Travelling doesn't imply that one must go to the ends of the world or to spend every last cent of your savings in order to experience it. It's simply what you make it, and that in itself is the adventure of a lifetime.
The greatest part of embarking on an adventure is not arriving at your destination, it is the journey that exemplifies what a life well travelled is all about. Let your adventures do the talking!