Search for content, post, videos

To My 26-Year-Old Self, This Is How Travel Changed Your Life

People of Masbate

Dear Cai,

Do you remember the time that you started dreaming of traveling the world? It wasn’t a part of the original plan. Before that, all you wanted was to become a manager, acquire a big house, and drive a fancy car.

Do you recall your life before you started dreaming of traveling the world? You were only 16 when you entered college and began planning your future. It was a rough ride. You had to financially support yourself. You sold snacks with your mother on the streets, worked at a fast food restaurant, tended an internet café, and served as a private tutor. Yes, Cai, you did all of these to finish college!

Everything paid off and you graduated on time. Then you found a job, but you wanted to do more. It is at this point that I’m thanking your 23-year-old self for mustering the courage to build your own travel blog. People were skeptical at the beginning, but you went on.

Do you remember your first travel website? How about your first travel article? Your wonderful journey began in Puerto Galera.  Traveling has taught you that it’s the small things that tend to add up in a big wayYou started with a small dream. You only wanted to see Puerto Galera, but look at you now. You’re writing this from Bangkok.


Batad, Ifigao – Traveling has taught you to restore your faith in humanity


March 2015 was one of the most memorable moments of your life. After your first solo travel to Sagada, you decided to visit Batad, Ifugao. You were desperate to go to Batad, but your cash was not enough because you didn’t know there was no ATM on Banaue proper. Yet, you didn’t want to miss the opportunity.  So, you took your chances and trusted the universe that you could explore Batad with what little money you had.

Then, you met Sir Maynard, a teacher in Ifugao, who didn’t hesitate to help you when you shared with him your dilemma.

People in Batad helped you find a place to eat and stay at, and a guide to assist you. They asked you to pay them with only a sum you could afford. Traveling has taught you to restore your faith in humanity.

In July 2015, you went all the way to the south of the Philippines. When people heard about your trip to Mindanao, they got worried, as it has always been associated with terrorism. But, that stigma didn’t stop you. You even traveled alone to the land of promise. Your first stop was Butuan where the locals got amazed how courageous you were. They asked if you weren’t afraid to move about the place. You simply smiled and said, “No.”

You went to as far as Basilan. Your friends worried about your safety, but there was no fear in seeing the beauty of the place. Traveling has taught you that danger could happen anywhere, even in the community where you live, but it should not stop you from exploring places.


fuego fuego

Isabela, Basilan – Traveling has taught you that danger could happen anywhere, even in the community where you live, but it should not stop you from exploring places.


After a year of blogging, people start sending you messages, asking for help and saying you inspire them and they look up to you. Thank you for being humble, saying that like them, you continuously learn things about the blogging and traveling world. You never hesitate to help people who want to start blogging or traveling alone.  Traveling has taught you to inspire and empower people.

Your solo travel to Kalinga was one of the highlights of your 2016. You only wanted to have a traditional tattoo. You never had a tattoo before that and you didn’t plan to have any when you were younger. You thought differently about people with tattoos, because of society’s stereotyping. Traveling has taught you to break stereotypes. A tattoo doesn’t make or break a man. You can have a tattoo and still be a good citizen, or a great leader. It doesn’t make anyone less of a person.

Traveling has taught you to follow what makes you happy.  There are probably thousands of people dreaming of having freedom from working 9-6. You were one of them. You were not brave enough to take the risk of being a freelancer.


Rice Planting

Buscalan., Kalingan – Traveling has taught you to break stereotypes


But destiny challenged you when you received an invite from the Tourism Ministry of Indonesia. You were torn between your career and traveling. You weighed everything. You knew that your job was important. But deep inside, you would be happier to work outside the office. So, you quit your job to travel, because you have a burning passion for writing, telling stories, and inspiring others. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that you couldn’t afford to miss. Traveling has taught you to ignite your passion.

And quitting your job to travel was the best decision you’ve made in your life so far. You learn to work harder and not depend on anyone to live. You earn enough doing freelance work to continuously support yourself and your family.  You’ve been traveling around Southeast Asia for 8 months now at your own pace, enjoying the freedom that you only dreamed of having. Your life has taken an 180-degree turn.


padar island

Padar Island, Indonesia – Traveling has taught you to ignite your passion.


You’re 26 now. You remember the time that you started dreaming of traveling the world. It’s no longer a dream. It’s now a reality. If other people think that traveling is just about having a break or vacation, it means different to you. Traveling helps you become the better version of yourself.

Look at you now. You are no longer the Cai who was afraid to speak and share his thoughts. Look at how far you’ve come. Look at how many people you inspire. I’m glad you did all of these. Your future self thanks you.

Truly Yours,

Cai 2.0

How about you? How did travel change your life? Share it here! #TravelokaPH, #WhyITravel & #TravelokaStories



  • […] that traveling can broaden the mind but have you ever considered the truth behind this statement? Traveling is something everyone should do as there are a whole host of mental and physical health benefits associated with jetting off and […]

  • […] Here’s an article on what I learned from my long term traveling. […]

  • […] We, millennials, are not getting any younger. Go and do the things that will make you happy. Enjoy your life to the fullest. Be crazy and wild. Stop caring about what other people will say negatively about you, and start making your dreams come true. Travel as much as you want and as far as you can. Believe me, it will change your views about the world. It will make you a better version of yourself.  […]

  • It’s nice that at 26, you’ve been to several places already. At 29, I have a husband and a son who needs all the attention so I have to time to travel. Good thing that sometimes, R&R are created. I have reason to travel somehow. Though limits will always be there. Baby is exclusively breastfeeding in me so I can’t leave him for long. So better for you, enjoy it while you’re young.

  • I was 26 when I first took off with a backpack to see the world and it changed me forever. I hope that others look at all you’ve done and are doing and follow in your footsteps. Travel is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer, the saying goes.

  • We couldn’t agree more with what you have been saying. Do what makes you happy. Do not conform with what others want you to do. Im so glad you have leant these life lessons on the way!

  • Hey Cai. Great to see you deciding to travel the world . It may sound cliched but is true that travelling is the best teacher. I have almost a similar photo of Batad , however it was raining when we went. We still hiked it to the Tappiya falls in the rain. Good luck and happy trvelling!

  • Your journey is really inspiring! It’s so great that your dreams are a reality now. Danger could happen anywhere. So true! That shouldn’t stop you from travelling.

  • “Traveling helps you become the better version of yourself.” – couldn’t agree more! I always learn when I’m traveling, and I always feel more “cultured” haha 🙂 Fellow Pinoy here btw!

  • Wow this is such an inspiration for all the young people put there. As for me, I don’t travel a lot as my life is boxed in a corporate world. But in time when I am free and have my own time, travelling will be on my first list of things to do. Well good luck Cai, you are are young and there are so much opportunities waiting for you. God bless.

  • What a great way to remember all of your moments. It’s incredible how fast age and experience can change our perception of the world and our place in it. Well done!

  • Travel definitely transforms you and makes you a better person all around. Great reflection. Best of luck with your continued travels!

  • Travel is indeed a great leveler, a great teacher, and a great catalyst. Travel changes and transforms you from within in many ways that you may not even realize. It was fascinating to read about your personal experiences with travel and the things that you have learnt.

  • Massive congrats on living a life full of passion, dreams and inspiration to others – funny the paths life takes us down (in reference to travel not being part of the original plan). I love these self reflective posts on a personal journey, and as travel is also a passion of mine, love hearing about how it ignites happiness and passion in other people’s lives also 🙂

    Travel on!

  • AHAH I actually wrote an article just like this a year ago, I called it ‘7 things travel has taught me’ including similar things like to have faith in humanity, and both passion and compassion as well as to have faith in myself. so it looks like its quite universal

  • I love the format of this post, it ‘s different and very inspiring. I agree with most of your lessons as I have experienced much of the same, restored faith in humanity, realising that safety at home is just a perception, breaking stereotypes and most important following our passions.

  • Amazing story! Here’s to the next 10 years my dear!

  • That is very impressive!
    Yes travel changes you makes a lot different and better person. Most important you begin to inspire others.

  • Your story is so beautiful and inspiring. Congratulations for what you have accomplished so far and good luck on your future dreams.

  • Such a heartwarming post. I started traveling in 2008. When I look back, I smile. Travel has changed me so much in the past decade. It has changed my entire outlook towards life. Now I value small things more than the materialistic affluence.

  • This was so lovely to read! I don’t know you but I’m so proud of you and all you’ve achieved so far after reading this 🙂
    Travel has definitely changed me too – in a lot of the same ways as you! I have so much more faith in humanity these days, patience, kindness, all those things my naive and selfish 18 year old self didn’t possess before she went and got herself a passport and plane ticket.

  • Wow, great story! Traveling har for sure changed my life and my approach to life. As you said a traveling break stereotypes. I so thankful that my parents started traveling with me.

  • Great idea, I wonder what I’d tell myself. All your points are so true about how travelling changes you and your outlook on life. This is a nice read, thanks for sharing.

  • Just look how far you’ve gone at 26. You’re living your dream to travel. I wish I could travel also but I guess that is not my calling. May you fulfill all the things included in your travel bucket list.

  • Your 23 yr old self would’ve been so proud of what has become of him after 3 yrs! Such an inspiring post 🙂 Traveling really does improve you and make you a better person. Stay adventurous!

  • Congratulations Cai! What an epic wonderful journey you have had. You have worked super hard for all your dreams and Im so glad other people have been inspired by you! Love your pics!

  • A really enjoyable post and one that I think echoes the thoughts of many long-term travelers. Certainly, when I first embarked on a life of travel, there are of course many doubts but thankfully, all these have managed to work out. And I couldn’t agree more, quitting my job to travel really has turned out to be the best decision of my life

  • I am happy to read the positive effects of traveling in your life! 🙂

    I use the wheelchair full-time and I have traveled alone twice (other than traveling with a companion or with a group of people). I realized that there are still many kind-hearted beings who would smile at me and assist me. Traveling allowed me to witness the various cultures different from mine and to view the world optimistically.

    Keep the fire burning!

    • Wow! That is so brave and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your short story. I would love to hear more!

  • So amazing that you’ve taken the leap to make traveling a priority. It truly is life changing!

  • Wow everyone should write letters like this to themselves fast forward a few years. Sometimes we do need to remember our achievements instead of sulking about our failures. Way to go Cai! Best of luck for your future!

  • Hi Cai, this is such a great read. 🙂 We really learn a lot of things with our travels. I saw all the drastic changes in my life when I started traveling too, and I couldn’t be more proud of who I have become. Cheers to more years of adventures!

    -Miss Bean

  • very nice reflection. Keep moving forward and living the life that makes you happy.

  • Hi Cai. How fortunate you are that you are able to begin a life of travel from such a young age! You have already benefitted from the benefits of travel and meeting you people, discovering new places and customs. May that life of discovery never end.

  • You’ve done so much for only being 26! You should be so proud! Traveling has taught me an independence that I would’ve never learned from anything else. It’s taught me to have more respect for nature, it’s taught me to realize the beauty of our natural world, it’s taught me to break out of my comfort zone, and it’s taught me to live life to the fullest.

    I’m SO jealous of your travels throughout Southeast Asia. That’s an area of the world I haven’t yet visited, but it’s at the top of my list! I’m hoping to go next summer!

    • Hello Sara,

      Thank you for your comment. I hope you visit SouthEast Asia Soon. It’s a very beautiful region in the world. I’m so glad that traveling teaches you a lot of things too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.