How Travel Changed My Life

Travelling is not only my vice and my hobby; it has also brought out the storyteller and writer in me. As time passed and through constant blog updates, I’ve found my voice and I’ve become more comfortable in sharing my thoughts and experiences with other people. So now, join me as I look back on some of my travels alongside the learnings I got from each.

This was the place where I got bitten by the travel bug. That time when I was looking at the waves, feeling the strong wind with the windmills at the background was that moment when I decided that I want to travel more. Cliché as this may sound but I started structuring my life around the possibility of going places because of that Ilocos trip. Why? Simply because it made me feel that I can. 

When a friend told me that we should go out of the country, it sounded overwhelming because of the cost but we wanted to make it work nonetheless. We broke the expenses down into small amounts over a course of six months. I liked how my thoughts shifted from I can’t afford that to how can I afford that. I had to re-evaluate my spending habit and remove the unnecessary purchases to gather enough funds. Small steps but a sure way of eventually getting there. 

Believe it or not, I used to dislike talking to strangers and asking for help. Things changed after my first out of the country trip though. In Malaysia where there is language barrier and we didn’t have internet the whole time, I was forced to ask. I didn’t notice until one of my friends pointed it out but I am now the one suggesting that we ask around if we’re in an unfamiliar place. I gradually became more comfortable in reaching out to people. I realized that it’s okay to ask someone rather than try to figure out everything on my own. 

My life’s second mountain and my favorite sunrise. I am not on the healthy side thus it was a struggle for me to get to the summit. Many times, during that night trek, I wanted to give up but the voice in my head saying that I’ll regret it if I won’t be able to make it on top kept pushing me. I have this picture in my wallet since that day. Displayed it so I am always reminded that if I have a clear picture of my goal, I must withstand all the hardships that come with it. Life, like the trek, isn’t an easy path but I need to go through everything to get where I want to be.

It’s not all the time that things will work out the way we went them to but it’s up to us how to react so we can make the best out of the situation we have. Something unfortunate happened while we were on our way back to Puerto Princesa from El Nido. I wasn’t someone independent enough to consider solo travelling but I had to join the tour alone. It was uncomfortable at first but it felt great and fulfilling at the end of the day. Something I’m looking forward to doing again except the accident, of course.

The humongous canyons and mountains in Zion that took millions of years to form grounded me in the most breathtaking way possible. When I was out there, I felt smaller yet going to farther places felt more possible than ever.

The world is huge and my reality isn’t everyone else’s and I have acknowledged that. After witnessing drastic cultural differences in Las Vegas, I became more open-minded. Whether we feel it or not, our experiences and the people we are to meet will all have an influence on the kind of person we are becoming. 

During my first few days in USA, an American told me, “Here in America, if you like something, say it.” Growing up in a country where we usually get embarrassed to say what we want, that was unusual. Then, I thought that I’ve got nothing to lose since I wanted to maximize my stay. I exhausted all resources with a level of assertiveness that was surprising even for myself but in return, I had visited four states. I went home more resourceful, persuasive and self-confident but my favorite is the acceptance that I can't always please everyone and I don't have to. All I can do is to be grateful for those people who choose to believe and support me.

I can think of a lot more things to share but it all boils down to the fact that, the only constant thing in this world is change. If we make it a point to occasionally go out of our comfort zones and be comfortable with the uncomfortable then we’ll be able to learn something new and change naturally comes after it. 

It’s easy to get jaded and it’s tempting to seek new landscapes with the drudgery of everyday but maybe it’s not always about the new stuff. That during this “boring” part right here, we just need a fresher perspective. Yes, the trick is to consistently see old and familiar places with new set of eyes.

Like the picture above where I seem to be walking towards the unknown with my Vigan backpack, I will unfailingly remember that “I can” moment in Ilocos when facing the uncertainty of life. 

For my next travels, may they be in the Philippines or anywhere in the world, I’m happily and excitedly on my way. 

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