Finding Neverland

It’s here – I reached my last week in the Philippines. I can’t believe it was only 6 months ago that I arrived in Manila. Feels almost like a century ago… Time can be funny sometimes, eh?

When I submitted my PULSE application, I wrote that, amongst other reasons, I wanted to do this to 1) help other people, 2) learn from new challenges, 3) develop leadership skills and 4) venture into the “outside world” that exists beyond GSK walls. I can’t say I accomplished them all, and at times I get this uncomfortable itch when I say that out loud, but then I remind myself that the ones that I did achieve were super rewarding.

14890519_770329153105632_3275644949555746140_oI didn’t get to help as many people as I thought I would, but I’m super grateful to have had the chance to share something I know, and learn something from, with the ones that I interacted in more meaningful ways. I didn’t save the world, but I explored it to the fullest. I got 2 diving certifications and saw sharks, I travelled to Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and to many tiny, tiny islands in the Philippines. I didn’t become a better leader, but I became a better person. Or at least one that is able to recognise my virtues and flaws and try harder to grow from there.

On the positives, there are plenty of things to tell and share about my adventures on this side of the globe, but I will single out the most important one: the people. No matter where we go, people are people, and yes, we are all the same. Be it in a suburbia town in Rio de Janeiro, in a metropole like Philadelphia, London, or New York, or in the (beautiful) chaos surrounding Manila and its busy highways. The friends and people I met here will stay in my life book forever. Last week, I was at a bar with a few of them and, for a moment, I stopped dancing and just looked around – 2 months ago I didn’t really know any of these folks, and yet there we were, sharing something beautiful, laughing like we’ve known each other since childhood. It’s funny how bonds can spark so bright – almost magical!


I don’t know what the future holds yet. However, as hard as 2017 has been to all of us who live in the United States, I still hold some hope that things will be okay at the end – no matter how the dark the force is at the moment.

And Philippines, you will always be a beautiful island to me. One that became my short-term home quite unexpectedly. One where I got to be a child again and just start a temporary life from tabula rasa, a blank page, and scratch my best self from there. One where I did something that can help save kids caught in the middle of humanitarian crisis and natural disasters – even if in a small scale. One that will remain intact in my memories – an ageless, eternal land full of joy. My very own Neverland.



  1. Beautifully written, heartfelt sentiments, Lucas! What a magical time, full of ups and downs, full of gratitude among chaotic moments, and full of lifetime memories… can’t wait to welcome you back to a familiar surrounding, though you may see things differently upon your return with your newfound perspective. Enjoy every moment!

  2. I love how reflective you are of your time in the Philippines Lucas! You definitely have a way with words which has meant I have enjoyed reading every one of your blogs. I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by. Enjoy your final week and we look to welcoming you back into the team 🙂

  3. It’s sad for me to see your journey come to an end because I enjoyed your blogs. I was in the NY today and saw Vivian and immediately thought of you. It will be nice to have you back. I wanted to correct one thing in you blog. You wrote: “I didn’t become a better leader, but I became a better person. Or at least one that is able to recognise my virtues and flaws and try harder to grow from there.” The insight you gained through your experiences and your ability to recognize those virtues and flaws in the hopes of growing as a person absolutely makes you a better leader, not to mention more emotionally intelligent. Give yourself some credit…you’ve done good!! 😉 Welcome home, Lucas!! 🇺🇸🇺🇸

  4. thank you for sharing Lucas, truly heartfelt, and touches the heartstrings for those who have yet to let go of those special PULSE influences about who we are and can be, where we are, and the journey to where we are hoping to go. As you pack, and prepare for those first steps back in Philly, I continue to remind myself of the book title (Thomas Wolfe) “You Can’t Go Home Again”; home is where your heart is. Onwards and Upwards, safe travels.

  5. What a beautiful blog, Lucas! Can’t believe it’s the end of your PULSE journey in the Philippines — but maybe just the beginning of a broader journey that you are on towards becoming that better person & leader who will continue to make a real difference in our world. So proud of all that you are & are becoming!!! You’re an inspiration. So excited to welcome you back HOME 🙂 Enjoy these last moments!!

  6. How wonderful to hear your final reflections on your time in the Philippines Lucas. I say final, but I suspect they are far from final and that you will have a whole new set of reflections by the time you set foot back in Philly, and then more a few weeks later, then more a few weeks after that. Cos that’s what happens on PULSE! Look forward to seeing you in London next month.

  7. Nice reflections, Lucas. Thanks for sharing a piece of you and touching the lives of people in our homeland. You are always welcomed to come back to your Neverland. Hope to see you again! 🙂

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