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 way. You started with a small dream. You only wanted to see Puerto Galera, but look at you now. You’re writing this from Bangkok.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How about you? How did travel change your life? Share it here! #TravelokaPH, #WhyITravel & #TravelokaStories