How Travel Changed My Life

I am slowly seeing places I once only dreamed of.

I just started, so I must admit I am not as hardcore as other travelers. However, each of my travel has always been more than just recreation, and it’s the reason why I want to do it more.

Traveling didn’t really change me nor my life, but it brought me closer to someone I barely knew. My real self whom I thought I knew so well—a part of me I was never aware of.

TRAVEL IS NOT JUST FOR THE WELL-OFF

When I was a kid, I never joined any field trips because I knew it would just break my parents’ bank. I grew up believing that it takes a lot of money to go to places. I once assumed that travels are for the rich.

Rock formation in Ilocos

I finally broke this social stigma when I was persuaded by a social media ad which leads me to my first self-initiated travel in Ilocos region. I had a risky 3-days and 2-nights tour for only Php 3,000. Even with doubts and uncertainties, I still went for it.

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I HAVE SEEN HOW POSTCARDS TURNED INTO REALITY

During school days, we were taught about the historical places and tourist destinations in the Philippines. Usually, they were printed on colorful postcards. These postcards, however, were just sketches and drawing to my eyes. They were proper nouns and lists that I had to memorize for class recitation and exams. They never appealed to me, until that moment I had with Bangui windmill and Calle Crisologo in Ilocos. It was nostalgic. I gazed at it with full of amusement. They were real, and I was standing in front of them.

YOU CAN BE FRIENDS EVEN TO THINGS YOU DESPISED—LIKE PAIN, SEA, AND WAVES.

I am no friends with the sea and the waves. Though I grew up living adjacent to the beach, I never learned how to swim. While my cousins and siblings were playing and swimming, I was on the shore watching them. There were times that they would make fun of drowning me in the deep part of the sea. Since I was a kid, I experienced the roughest waves of the ocean many times when traveling by ship. Fear grew inside me. The sea and the waves were never fun, I hated it; I fear them. I don’t feel safe and calm around them—until I went to Baler.

Surfing was the main attraction in Baler, I wouldn’t make the most of my travel if I didn’t try it. Heck, most of the time, traveling forced you to do things and left you with no choice. Hesitantly, I still did it. Surfing in Baler made me feel like I reconciled with the waves and the sea. It was the first time I enjoyed being on the water. At last, I learned how to be friends with the things I hate—even with pain, which I heavily felt right after surfing. My body hurt, but my heart felt comforted and relieved.

YOUR REAL STRENGTH WILL SHOW UP WHEN BEING STRONG IS YOUR ONLY CHOICE.

This is what I realized when I climbed Mt. Malindig in Marinduque and Mt. Sipit-Ulang in Montalban. Aside from fearing heights, I never imagined myself being on top of a mountain. It’s just way beyond my limits, but guess what, I did!

During the climb, I stumbled several times. In the middle of spelunking, I wanted to stop crawling. While rock scrambling, I wanted to let go. While hiking, I wanted to quit. Nevertheless, I just couldn’t because nothing could pick me up and take me back to the jump-off point. No one could save me from death that is just behind me if I loosen up my grip on the rock.

I realized that I underestimated my strength. I realized that I can be stronger than I ever imagined. I realized that you just have to keep pushing and going because reaching the top is worth all the difficulties. I was overflowed with therapeutic joy up there; an unfamiliar inner peace and seclusion from the world down there; an inner detachment from the urban noise.

SOLITUDE REAFFIRMS YOUR INDIVIDUALITY

Because people want to stand out in this fast-paced world, we tend to forget to be who we really are—the person we want to be. We settle for less because it comforts us and it conforms to the status quo.

In this world full of doubts, and conflicts, to be away in solitude is both a need and a gift to ourselves. Once in a while, solitude is a must in order to contemplate and recollect the person we have become. With all these social media, personal relationships, and influence, we have to reassure that we have not lost ourselves along the way—our personality, and uniqueness.

That’s what I did on my 25th birthday, I’d gone solo in Tagaytay and Caleruega to rediscover and reconnect with my inner self. I’d been to 2 places–perfect for supplication and quiet time– which brought me fulfillment and self-assurance.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES MADE SENSE

They say that the simplest things in life are the most beautiful. When I fell in love with traveling, I understood this quote better. While traveling, I learned to recognize the things that really matter. I learned to set my priorities. Moreover, I valued the amazing feeling when the blue sky transforms into indigo more than the retail therapy I used to run to when I’m stressed out. I found beauty among the sunsets, beaches, mountains I get to see while traveling, instead of the temporary satisfaction, I got from gadgets, shoes, or clothes.

There is an astonishing world out there. Let your feet wander to places you’d only see in photos. Let these beautiful places feed your soul. Go out and discover the world, and discover yourself!

Share how travel changed your life at Traveloka. #TravelokaPH, #WhyITravel & #TravelokaStories

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