I am never the planner. I don’t plan my day, moreover my life. I love spontaneity and surprises. But when we talk about traveling, I become the exact opposite.
My first out of the country trip was with my family. We would avail tour packages and have an itinerary determined by the travel agency. It was fun but it felt limiting. Few years after, I started to travel with a friend and decided to book everything on our own. It was more fun to have control over your trip: where to go, what to eat, where to shop. Also, we don’t have to visit jewelry stores if we don’t want to. :p
Recently, when I traveled with my family and friends to Japan, I took care of the itinerary and the budgeting. It was really challenging — having to plan for a big group is one thing, and it is another thing to research the must-see places, book our accommodation and activities. I became the planner I never thought I can be. I was keen into details, made sure I settled the correct amount, booked the correct dates and paid with the correct card. Traveling is fun, but I can say planning a trip is something I look forward to now. Maybe the next thing I should plan is — my life. Lol!
Check out my Japan Pre-Planning post.
You see it: in the malls, in the highway, in the TV ads — Nike has always encouraged us to do it. But nothing can better push us to “just do it” than traveling.
Traveling has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Every time I am in a new place and I seem to be in a crossroad — whether to do an activity or not, or whether to try an exotic food or not — I always think of this tagline: JUST DO IT! Because when will I be able to go back to that place again — probably not anytime soon. And I wouldn’t want to go back home thinking of “I should have done that” or “I should have eaten that.” Same as what happened to us in Shenzhen. My mother managed all our money and expenses then. When we were offered to visit the Windows of the World, my mother declined because she thought it was a bit costly and it wasn’t worth it. We left Shenzhen with ‘what if’s’ and it wasn’t a good feeling. I gotta learn it the hard way and made sure that on my next trips, I should just do it.
I can say, traveling to a new place made me braver and bolder.
You can be late to work or to a meeting with friends, but never, ever be late when traveling. Every second and minute of your time while traveling is important. You don’t want to miss anything spectacular, like the sunrise in Angkor Wat, when that’s the exact reason you flew to Cambodia.
That is exactly the story of my life. On our last day in Cambodia, we decided to do the Angkor Wat tour. Since we’re already in Cambodia, we don’t want to miss seeing it in its most picturesque form: sunrise. But guess what, we overslept! Instead, we started our tour at 8am and was greeted by sea of people. Nevertheless, we enjoyed visiting the temples. On the brighter side, without these misfortunes, we will not actually learn. So, I take it as a lesson. Next time I traveled, I make sure to set my alarm 5 times and SLEEP EARLY!
There was another instance, we were 5 minutes late for our Kalibo to Manila flight, we had to take a boat for 16 hours instead of a 45 minute plane ride. Talk about hassle 😦
Thanks to geography, we know our continents and their location. We know that we have vast bodies of water and different land forms, but these are all textbook information. We learn this in grade school. The true knowledge is obtain when you get out there and experience it yourself.
When I fly via plane, it always amazes me to look down and see pea-sized houses, the illuminating lights and vast oceans. It makes me realize how small I am and how big the world really is. And for a moment my problems seem so small compared to all the problems accumulated in the whole world. As I continue traveling, it perplexes me to think how I came to exist not knowing all these people and not seeing these places. That’s why when I come home after a trip, I really feel enriched and contented because I feel like I learned a lot and see a lot of things that I never knew exist.
Ever since, I always look forward to traveling more, to see more faces and places and bring it with me back home.
Oh, yes I can solve an Algebra equation and I can recite the Periodic Table of Elements — thanks to my high school. But I have learned that there are far more things to learn when you step out of the classroom. Theories are taught in school but the real knowledge comes from our experiences. And I can say traveling is one of the best teachers I have encountered in this lifetime.
After college, I was thrown out into the real world: I got a job that pays me enough but I don’t really enjoy, I started to get bills, eventually I felt burnt out and questioned if this is everything there is after college. And then I got into traveling, I spent my weekends out of town and plot my vacation leaves to visit other countries. Suddenly, life seems to be happier. I get to meet different people from different walks of life. I talk to people with languages different from mine. I get to see other people’s livelihood: making delicacies, wood carving and clothing. Most importantly, I experienced things and not just read about them. I felt fully present. Have I not traveled, have I not stepped out from my comfort zone, have I not explored, I wouldn’t learned this much about people and places and especially I wouldn’t know more about myself — what I am capable of, what my limits are, what my hidden strengths are.
Traveling made me richer in experience. Traveling made me more knowledgeable than those who do not travel. Traveling totally changed my life. I cannot imagine not traveling at all.