Jobert Abueva on Growing Through a Nomadic Childhood
Grow Through It: Growing Up Challenges
Jobert Abueva, author of Boy Wander, describes a nomadic boyhood in which his family moved multiple times because of his father’s work as a roving academic. Just as he was feeling comfortable, the family would be uprooted for another move. Born in the Philippines, Abueva moved to Honolulu, Brooklyn, Katmandu, Manila, and then went to high school in Japan.
Even as an adult, he felt that he wanted to keep moving, which he attributes to his peripatetic childhood. He uses the term ‘destination addicted’ to describe his experience — always waiting for the next move, job, relationship, place — the downside of which is perhaps never being content with the good in front of him.
Abueva got through it using self-reflection, meditation, solitude, and writing. When he wrote his memoir, it helped him process and better understand his experience. He came to realize that he was lucky to experience so many cultures and countries, and his feelings of anger toward his parents turned to gratitude.
He learned that being among different cultures, living conditions, and socio-economic classes has made him a more resilient person. And this resilience has helped him keep moving forward, not knowing what’s ahead.
The advice Jobert Abueva would give to others going through something similar is to reflect on the experience of why you moved so much. And if you want to feel more settled, he suggests having a vision for your future and taking small, deliberate steps to get there.