The Wanderlust Soul

By Zerylle Mae Lim

”She who dares wins”, quotes this issue’s featured travel aficionado Suzanne ”Suzy” Catindig:  a flight attendant of Saudi Arabian Airlines, who has always been consumed by her desire to amplify her life with worthwhile experiences.

After double-majoring in undergraduate school of BS Psychology and AB Guidance & Counseling in St. Scholastica’s College in Manila, she was resolute that pursuing a career which her mother had always dreamed of for herself was the path she was to take, as after all, she knew that her persona is one that would never be keen to be expended in the monotony of an ‘eight to five’ job. Shortly after graduating from school, and after a brief stint in modeling work, Suzy landed herself a job as a cabin crew in Qatar Airways, after applying in an open-day recruitment event that was held in Manila. About a year through her career with the airline, and constantly finding herself homesick, she decided to fly back to the Philippines, where she then studied make-up artistry and started a full-time career on this. With more time in her hands, Suzy took the opportunity to travel again, but this time purely for leisure, and together with her boyfriend, she traveled to several places for over a year. Realization kicked in that she could never detach herself from the joys of seeing new places every so often, so once again, she decided to return to a full-time flying career, this time, with Saudi Arabian Airlines. More than the opportunity to bask in the wonders of the many countries she flies to, Suzy considers the overall experience as a noble commitment to safeguard the lives of hundreds of people flying with her day in and day out, at 38,000 feet above the ground.

Being based in Saudi Arabia, while her mother, sisters and her boyfriend are living and working in Washington D.C. and Manila is what Suzy considers the greatest challenge she faces with her job. Being the youngest among three daughters, she has always been considered the baby of the family, and although she has tried living independently when she worked in Qatar, it isn’t an easy trial to have to experience it all over again in a country which she is remotely familiar with. Fortunately, she gets the perks of frequently getting consecutive days off in a month, so with the free and discounted tickets she receives, courtesy of the airline, she spends these days off either in Washington with her mum or in Manila with her boyfriend and siblings. Whilst knowing that traveling will always remain a fragment of her that she cannot do without, she also realizes that ultimately, having her own family and her own business is a dream she must fulfill. However, with the enviable benefits she receives, Suzy is adamant in making the most out of traveling before she decides to resign from the airline. She shares with us some of the places which have truly left a mark on her wanderlust soul.

Topping her list is Dubai, where she had her “craziest experience” as she surged out her adrenaline in the city’s famous skydive, thousands of feet above the Palm Jumeirah. This trip marks a birthday treat last November 2015, when she decided to further explore a destination closer to her work base. With nearly two consecutive weeks off, Suzy set foot on a plane to Dubai and met up with her boyfriend there for their first getaway in the Gulf region.

Generally popular amongst travel buffs for its rich culture and delectable cuisine is Japan, another one that made it to Suzy’s list of destination favourites. She recounts relishing the best sashimi that she has ever had, that would almost “melt in your mouth”.

Among those she has visited in the Philippines, it was the province of Batanes that truly quenched her thirst for marvelous landscapes, fascinating culture, traditions and magnificent sunsets.

Flashback of a quote “what we do in life echoes for eternity” from her favourite film Gladiator, which was set in what was supposedly “Ancient Rome”, has her feeling sappy every time she steps in Italy’s capital, especially when she visits the world’s largest amphitheater, best known as the Colosseum.

No European travel would be complete without visiting the renowned capital of France. To Suzy, layovers in Paris can never get too old when it comes to sight-seeing and (window) shopping.  She narrates how she was one of the crew that operated to Paris a day after the Friday the 13th attacks that took place there last November. It was quite emotional yet incredible to witness the Eiffel Tower beautifully lit up with the colours of the flag of France, and despite that occasion being a time of mourning, the natural splendor of the city and the warmth of the locals made Suzy fall in love with it even more.

The world now in her hands, Suzy keeps her feet grounded, ever-grateful for everything she has already been blessed with. As she continues to fly high in the realm of countless opportunities, she shares to everyone who dreams to “stay open to change because the possibilities out there are infinite. Continue learning from the good and bad experiences because the end-goal is to grow in wisdom. Most importantly, never forget to thank the Almighty for every blessing, be it big or small.”

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