Fernweh: Holding Out for the Unknown
I've been living in two places at once for four years now. I moved to Dasmarinas, Cavite from my hometown Nasugbu, Batangas with remorse; I thought I was being taken away from a place I vowed to never leave. And for a long time, I felt homesick.
Heimweh, as the Germans called it. I missed home so much. I would often cry myself to sleep because I was in a different place. The air was different, the people were different, and I was different. If there was something 13-year-old me didn't like, it was exactly that. Nasugbu was my home because it felt familiar. Dasmarinas was my house because I studied there. Nothing ever connected the two.
That's what I thought until I remembered the Kaybiang Tunnel. Although technically the property of Maragondon, Cavite, it starts (or ends, if you went from Cavite) in Nasugbu. The tunnel has been the road of choice for us when we used to travel in the afternoon. It was an escape route away from the dreaded traffic near Alfonso and Tagaytay. It was a dangerous road -- the only thing saving you from falling off the side of the cliff was the driver's skills behind the wheel. However, I loved going up there.
I strangely felt at home in a place that's neither Nasugbu nor Dasmarinas. It was a grey area. The middle of a Venn diagram. The mountain views from one side and the ocean from the other; it was the beautiful marriage of the two landscapes that enamored me to that place.
When you look at the forest for long enough, you will start to see the small entrances to the woods that seem to hide some kind of secret. My mind wandered into these woods without ever taking a step out of the car. I always loved thinking that there was some kind of Narnia there. Maybe I could even find myself my own Totoro. There was an amazing place behind those trees and I was sure of it.
Sadly, I got robbed of the chance to explore it. The quarantine made sure that we were all cooped up inside the house to ensure safety of each family member. That also meant that I no longer saw the mountains by Kaybiang, nor the wonders that lie inside it. But my mind never stopped thinking about it.
Like heimweh, the Germans also had another word for this: Fernweh. It is described as the feeling of nostalgia for a place you've never been to. Wanderlust, if you will, is the term usually accompanying fernweh. That is exactly what I had.
I daydreamed so much about walking into those woods barefoot, with nothing but curiosity and will accompanying me. I longed to go home. Be one with nature. Strangely enough, it felt like home. It was calling out to me. And if I could, I would answer to it as soon as I can.
There are still travel restrictions for minors all around the world. But once I get the chance to go outside again, I would go back to the forests of Kaybiang. It's the bridge between my past and my future, the line that connects my personal and professional life, and the keeper of my heart.