How Travel Has Changed My Life

It was a dreary afternoon and I had just finished optimizing a website for my client. As I glanced through my window, I realized that my brain was just as foggy as the frosted glass of the jalousie. Day in, day out — it was all the same. My life was at a state of idleness.

I've been looking at the outside world behind my computer screen. I would stare at my friends' beach photos on Facebook and Instagram, and feel a slight tinge of envy. Don't get me wrong, I always wanted to travel. I have the opportunities and resources, but I lack the courage and determination. After about 2 years of working, I felt like I’ve hit a plateau. So I decided to take a break.

I closed my eyes and let my mind float aimlessly. Suddenly, for whatever reason, my mind decided to blurt out an idea:

“Go travel.”

Being an introvert, I have worries and fears with the idea of traveling. But this idea that has been brewing in my mind for weeks have finally flowed out like a river. I gave in. I decided to travel. And it is a decision that I never have regrets. Since then, I’ve been constantly on the move, going from one place to the next. It changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.

Wider, better perspective

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For someone my age, I have been fortunate enough to experience life’s different colored palettes. Since I started traveling, I was able to visit several astonishing places that broadened my perspective:

At people. Traveling forced me to meet people who have completely different appearances, values, and beliefs than what I'm accustomed to. It ripped apart my tunnel vision, and despite the generalizations, in the end, l came to accept that each individual has their own characteristics.

At the world. Stepping off a plane into some unknown territory can be quite jarring. My mind came to a striking realization that places far away from my hometown exist, and instead of being some abstract concept, they are actually just as multidimensional as the place where I came from.

At life. Philosophers throughout history have argued about the purpose of life. While I won’t go so far as to say that I have found the meaning of my life, I can say that traveling helped me realize that my existence is not uncalled for. I am here, and I will do everything that I can to make the most out of this journey we call LIFE.

Improved self-esteem

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I’m not perfect. I get lost, I forget my tickets, I run out of cash, and I miss my flight. If I had an entire day I still would not be able to list down all the miscalculations that I made during my trips. But I never feel disheartened. I know that at the end of the day, I’ll find my way to the hotel, I’ll manage to catch another flight, or I’ll have enough money to still enjoy the vacation. Positivity is really the key!

Being alone is okay

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In a society that puts socialization on a golden pedestal, one may think that loneliness should be rendered obsolete. Sadly, most of the connections that we have are superficial. I, for one, have plenty of social media "friends" and "followers". Yet I find myself craving for something more.

I’ve come to accept the fact that sometimes, being alone with my thoughts is much more fulfilling. Just recently, I went to a town in Batangas for a weekend beach trip. Alone.

But for the entirety of the trip, not once did I feel lonely.

Turning weaknesses intro strengths

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I had a phobia of the ocean which started when I nearly drowned during one of my school’s beach party. And that experience somehow made me believe about the existence of colossal creatures that's lurking beneath the ocean.

During my visit in Biliran (Eastern Visayas), I’ve met new friends along the way who helped me out with the basics of swimming. They instructed me to stop struggling and let the current guide me. This seemed strange but somehow, it worked. I managed to stay afloat. It was then that I realized what my mistake was. I was trying to force my way through the waves.

Traveling helped me transform my imperfections into my own power. It tore out my insecurities, shoved them in my face, and forced me to improve.

Reconnecting with old friends, and made new ones

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While traveling alone is awesome, going on trips with friends is another adventure of its own. Many times, I would contact a few of my college friends to invite them on a weekend trip.

Everytime I meet my old friends, I feel this instant and overwhelming sense of euphoria. The few hours and days we spend together are filled with sunshine and nostalgia.

Moreover, new places also bring forth new people that I have included in my circle.

Gratitude for the simplest things

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Right after graduating from college, I spent nearly two years running in my own metaphorical hamster wheel. While my technical skills improved, I lost sense of the bigger picture.

I was mindlessly rushing through life.

Traveling helped me notice the little things around me. Nowadays, I enjoy staring at the evanescent beams of sunlight filtering through the leaves, and I find tranquility listening to the sound of the ocean waves. Something that I never paid attention to when I was still my old self.

But most of all, I realized that life, in itself, is an expedition. That we are beings made of stardust aboard a floating piece of rock coursing through space at 1,000 kilometers per hour. That we are the universe experiencing its own magnificence.

That we are all travelers.


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