It isn’t about world-famous attractions, although seeing one can mesmerize you. It’s not about your stay in that 5-star resort, although you will love how they treat you like royalty. It’s not even about those cool souvenirs, although having one can relish the wonderful memories by looking at it.
If you dig deep into it, traveling—and not visiting usual tourist spots or staying in fancy hotels— is mainly about learning life’s lessons. Our travels allowed us to understand our relationship to the world and the fellow humans who share it with us. Most importantly, it’s about listening to what the world teaches us– to become better people.
1. Everything in this world is interconnected.
From the moment we step on board that Cebu Pacific flight until we ride that habal-habal on a rough mountain road, we realize that everything, everywhere, and everyone is within reach. Through traveling, we realize that feelings of alienation, disconnection, loneliness, discrimination, and racism are all simply products of unfounded pride, fear, and jealousy.
2. We become proud of what we are.
Every time we visit a place and play in green plazas that date back to the Spanish era, go inside massive stone churches that immortalize our Christian spirit, or enter a bahay-na-bato in far-flung provinces, we assemble a piece of our unique origin. We have a wonderful, colorful, unique culture. As we understand our history more, we become proud bearers of Filipino culture wherever we are.
3. Traveling refreshes our soul.
We live in a fast-paced modern society filled with technological wonders and golden opportunities that are unheard of generations past. Unfortunately, to succeed in that society, we have become slaves to stressful work, schedules that do not permit having quality time with ourselves and loved ones, and lifestyles that speak of earthly, temporary desires. Traveling allows us to slow down so we can reassess ourselves. Like the gentle sunrise in Malapascua Island in Cebu, our souls glow with new meaning after each trip.
4. Nothing is trivial.
It is in our nature, as human beings, to take things for granted. But when we are in a strange land or when we’re fully exposed to the fury of Mother Nature, we realize that little things really matter. A sip of ice-cold Sparkle can be a massive relief during a hot summer trek up the slopes of Cebu’s mountains. A simple bed in an eco-lodge in Camiguin can be our ticket to a blissful sleep. In the same way, ordinary things such as home, love of family, and the company of friends become treasures.
5. Traveling changes our perspective of the world.
We often have our own views, perceptions, beliefs, and judgments of a place, person, event, situation, or thing, thanks to what we encounter in the media or through word-of-mouth. However, when we travel, we would be surprised that what we’ve always believed about the place is far from the truth. War-torn Mindanao is actually a lovely, peaceful place. Dirty Manila is actually an ultramodern city. Bare-mountain Cebu is filled with lush forests. As we travel more and see reality, we begin to develop a more open, more objective attitude toward things.
6. We are never alone.
It is inherent in our culture—we don’t want to be alone. As Filipinos, we have strong family ties and tight friendships. Perhaps, that is why many of us feel hesitant to visit new places alone, fearing the unknown. Let us tell you something: you can never be alone. In our journeys, we met fellow backpackers, adventurers, and even locals who are hungry for company. After all, the same kindred spirits will always find their way to one another.
7. Traveling lets us witness real life.
We never limit ourselves to places where tourists congregate. We don’t imprison ourselves in resorts. Rather, we travel deep to witness what we’re after: real life that can be found in ordinary villages, normal households, and everyday activities. Remember that the soul of the country does not reside in those mere pockets called “tourist attractions.” It lies on what is all around us, from youths playing basketball in a remote mountain barangay in Samar to young men gambling away their meager income in a quiet village in Silay.
8. Traveling forces us to defy our limits.
When we’re exploring the world, we’re usually left with our own devices. We are forced to think and act outside the box to make our travel experience memorable or simply to survive the day. We walk beyond exhaustion as we climb a mountain or face fear as we scuba dive in the depths of Philippine waters. We’ll learn to keep a leash on our short tempers during delayed flights or sacrifice several things to make sure we can finance our adventures. In the end, traveling gives us the opportunity to go beyond our cannot-dos.
9. We learn to truly care.
As traveling opens our eyes to the reality of the place—beauty, ugliness, love, cruelty, creation, destruction, etc., we begin to exhibit a sense of concern. For example, the magnificence of the Margaja Valley and the majestic slopes of Mt. Kanlaon never fail to touch us to the core, and we become advocates of nature preservation. We visited the typhoon-damaged communities of Northern Cebu, and we felt a strong desire to help fellow Cebuanos. Traveling does more than opening eyes; it opens hearts.
10. Traveling puts us back in our place.
Traveling is more than a wahoo activity; it’s a way to get humbled. As we see just how huge, spectacular, awesome, wild, and beautiful the world is, we realize that we are really no one special; we’re just animals living temporarily in this planet. There are vast, great, unknown powers at work that humans cannot possibly comprehend. Traveling dispels the notion of self-importance and instills in our hearts that the world and everything in it demand utmost respect.
Book a flight, arrange a tour, plan out an itinerary, and pack your bags. The world’s best teacher awaits you!