If there is one thing that growing up has taught me to love that would be traveling. Rekindling with places I had been to before, going to places I have never seen and meeting people of different cultures have never become so appealing to me before than they are now.
My love for traveling all started when my friends and I had a random beach trip to a nearby province. As the saying puts it better, “once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote.” Things just start rolling as if I was transformed into a person who will grab every opportunity to pack her things and go. I found myself filing leave applications time after time and even ditch school. I found myself riding a bus late at night just to catch another early bus trip. I learned to conquer long queues to buy tickets for trains or for boats. I would sleep in a tent, in a hotel, in a friends’ house and wake up early to witness the flicking off of street lights or to watch sunrise from the mountain top. At some point, I feel like a timid girl finally came out of her shell and started discovering places. It seems like I am “metamorphosized,” earned wings and even love for places I’ve never been to.
We have different reasons why we travel. Some travel to escape their worlds; some seek for a space to breathe more, to find answers to questions. I, myself, travel to see more of this world. I travel to see the sun rise and bid good night in a strange place. I go to different places to discover others’ worlds so I can understand mine deeper. And just like most millennials, I travel to lighten up the burden when the daily grind is wearing me down. I travel to appreciate not only the new things I see in my destination but to stay deeply in love with everything back home.
But there is indeed so much more to traveling than escaping what it might be tiring in our own worlds. There is something more beyond the laughs and the thrills of spending time with loved ones and getting through delayed flights or lengthy rides. As I continuously hop from a bus to another, my 22-year-old self learns lessons that I believe would be kind of elusive if I don’t set my feet away from my comfort zone. Over the past few months of letting the travel bug go deeper into my skin, I learn some lessons which widen my perspective on how I view what and who I have in my life.
1. There are other worlds aside from mine. Perhaps, this is one of the first lessons that new travelers tend to realize. There are other worlds outside my world, indeed. Those worlds can be better than where I am in; but that does not mean mine cannot be as wonderful as the other worlds I see.
Seeing other worlds remind me of possibilities—that I can rebuild my own, embellish it and make it the way I want it to be. It helps me discover that there are other destinations to jump into and that, I have to go out of my comfort zone because that is how I will know myself more, that is how I will grow as a person.
2. Life gets lighter when I learn to appreciate more. There is indeed something about leaving my comfort zone that brings me back to embracing what and who I already have in my life. Perhaps, it is just a human tendency to be a sort of sentimental when our known comfort is taken away from us. But the thing is, traveling helps a lot in keeping us grateful for the kind of life we have.
With busy schedule at school or at work, most of us tend to overlook what we already have not because we care less, but because we treat them as ordinary or I may say, typical part of our lives. It is like how we treat sunset or sunrise. They are scenes which we can witness everyday but how many bothers to? I once asked myself why most of us (including me, of course) turn giddy thinking about waking up early when we’re in another place just to see the same sun trace its way to the sky. And then, I realized that maybe it is because of the chance that traveling gives us. It frees us from worries that our daily grind brings, hence, it gives us time to check on what we usually miss, and appreciate that even ordinary things (which we take for granted) can actually infect happiness in their own simple ways. It’s like we’re given another lens to look beyond what we normally see and yes, life will never be the same again.
3. Family is important in my life. For almost a year of being consumed by wanderlust, I can say that traveling makes me utterly in love with beautiful places, but it also keeps me entwined with the place called “home.” I learn that I can explore places with other people, hop from one train to another to check an item on my bucket list, but going home to be with my entire family is something I always look forward to at the end of the day, at the end of each trip. They will always have a special place in my heart no matter where I go.
4. I can so I should be more responsible than my old self. Traveling, which basically means going out of my comfort zone, teaches me to stand on my own. I pack my own things, arrange my trip, and learn to get along with people other than my family. I get to solve problems beginning from small to big ones. I learn to budget my money and be as thrifty as possible because there are plenty of uncertainties along the way and I don’t want to experience shortcomings in the middle of a trip.
The experiences I gained from being a traveler bring out an independent person in me. Both good and bad experiences train me to make decisions and handle whatever outcome they will bring. Through traveling, I also understand the importance of NOW, that I don’t have to wait for next month or next year to be an improved version of me. The best time is now.
Going to different places does entail spending our savings or hard-earned money. We visit museums, those breathtaking beaches and foreign countries—we spend money; but thinking beyond its costs, traveling gives us more in return. It leads us to experience what other worlds have to offer. It provides us rest when we need it the most and even a temporary escape from our own chaotic worlds. And more than the pampering that it gives, traveling instills in us life lessons that lead us to be the improved versions of ourselves. It gives us chance to understand others’ worlds while embracing what we already have back home.