Lessons learned from RVing

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

Rep. Bernadette “BH” Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon Party-list is urging the House committee on the welfare of children and the House leaders to expedite work on consolidating the three House bills against child marriage, so that a bicameral conference committee can be convened with their Senate counterparts as soon as the House approves the substitute bill.

Herrera-Dy, secretary-general of the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc., filed, with Rep. Edcel Lagman as her co-author, HB 1486 in the 18th Congress to declare all child marriages as illegal from the very beginning or ab initio. “What this means is child marriages done before the bills take effect as a law are invalid, so the women in those marriages can be set free,” she said.

“Since 2013 in the 16th Congress, members of the House have been trying to have a bill against child marriage approved. Today, seven years after, we have the best chance so far to free tens of thousands of Filipino children, nearly all girls, from child marriage.”

“Child marriage is a fundamental human rights violation which has negative impacts on girls’ health and development,” says Rep. Herrera-Dy. “It denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of violence and abuse, and poses risks to her health. Child marriage also denies both girls and boys the right to choose when and whom to marry, a decision that should be made freely.”

The UNFPA, she continues, cites that nine out of 10 adolescent births are vulnerable to pregnancy-related complications, which are among the leading causes of death among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19.

Also, according to UNICEF, women and girls’ development is hindered by child marriage as married girls are most likely to drop out of school and lose the chance to gain skills and knowledge which will help them secure gainful employment.

Along with the Herrera-Dy bill, two other bills (HB 3899 and HB 5670) on prohibiting child marriage were filed by Vargas, Alfred and Lacson-Noel and Josephine Veronique, respectively, also last year and remain pending with the committee on welfare of children.

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In 2004, when Carolina Esguerra Colborn retired early and migrated to the United States, weighing just 101 pounds “after burning out from a jet-setting business life in Manila,” she needed a huge change. She wanted to find time to “cook a little, teach a little, travel a little, write a little and love a little” and she did all, and happily, with a husband wholeheartedly supporting her first travel book, “Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream.”

Carolina had a distinguished career in Philippine business before migrating to the US. Holding a BS in mathematics, MBA and DPA from the University of the Philippines, she rose to the upper echelons of different professions – president/CEO of Bayan Trade, e-procurement hub of the Philippines; managing director of SAP Philippines, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and vice president  of the Development Academy of the Philippines. Twice a recipient of the Most Powerful Women in IT Award, she represented the private sector in the National Information Technology Council.

In 2007, she met Bill Colborn and married him a year later. Soon he sold his business, and they embarked on a five-year cruise of North America in an RV (a recreational motor vehicle or trailer which includes living quarters). She not only soaked up great American sights in 49 American states, nine Canadian provinces and six Mexican states, but also became deeply immersed in American culture and history. Within the cozy confines of a 350-sq. ft. motorhome, life lessons came as fast as scenes changed. In 2015 this epic journey was chronicled in her travel book, Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream.

This year she released a handy booklet, Cruising in an RV: the Basics You Need to Know, for those looking to start RVing. This was soon followed by her second travel book, Cruising Past Seventy. It’s Not Only about Outer Journeys. It’s Also about Inner Ones. She continues to maintain a travel blog, Cruising Past 70, several posts of which also have been republished elsewhere. She also writes bimonthly for travelawaits.com, an online travel magazine. Bill and Carolina now use Phoenix, Arizona as a base for their travels within and outside the US. From there, she has traveled to 38 countries.

It has been five years since she published her first book in 2015. In her own light-serious chatty style Carol offers a helpful proposition in her second travel book, Cruising Past Seventy. It’s Not Only about Outer Journeys. It’s Also about Inner Ones. She says, “Although there is a world of difference between the two types of journeys, we should allow them to blend.” In 41 easy-to-read short chapters, she offers sometimes delightful, at other times captivating, inner journeys around three themes: lessons learned, changes made and insights gained.

From her eight years of RVing, she learned life-changing lessons, among them is how to travel light in an RV. Carol and her husband’s home on wheels weighed ten tons and the cost of moving it from point to point was high. They had to learn how to travel light, and minimize fuel expense. And it led them to a huge life lesson: “There is really only one way to travel light; and that is to live light.” There are other lessons in healthcare, technology and others outlined in articles she wrote for travelawaits.com, a popular online travel magazine.

Carol’s big admission is that her RVing across America made her an American and she felt tremendous guilt about giving up the Philippines when she received her citizenship. Only when she became a dual citizen did she finally feel at peace. In other words, she not only learned how to be a wife without losing her identity but also become an American without losing her roots. She has even adopted Mexico, so close to their base in Phoenix, Arizona, as a third home. And her heart has now become wide open for other countries, especially those where her children live.

From all her travels, she has also developed a deeper understanding of many travelers’ concerns. These are all compiled as “Insights Gained,” consisting of chapters on the attitude, flexibility, curiosity and courage travelers must have.

Her second book has become so relevant for the times, says Carol. “Now that we are not able to travel as much as we want, blending our outer journeys with the inner journeys that come as a result of them should better feed our wanderlust. This is how, even if we are forced to travel less, especially as we advance in years, our life becomes enriched. Because that’s when we see benefits of travel that are deep and long-lasting. They are the lessons learned, changes made and insights gained.”

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Email: [email protected]

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