Social icons

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How Did Travel Change Me?


Pai 10
love life. love who you truly are. love your dreams.
Pai, Thailand

At least once in your life, do something for YOU. Not what other people think is best for you, nor what society thinks is right. Do what your heart desires. I assure you the rewards are invaluable and it will make life more worth living. 

How did travel change me? 

When I finally decided that I will do something with my life and listen to my heart – quitting my job and doing the Big Trip – I have to be honest, I had some expectations as to how my life will change. Of course I imagined myself being discovered as a talented photographer, move to another country, and I even imagined myself being a travel photographer. 

But as I traveled through different countries, those expectations didn’t matter anymore. Just the mere fact that I wake up every single day free from all the negativities, it was priceless. Going on different adventures, meeting a lot of new people, witnessing and experiencing different cultures, getting humbled by the realities of life – these were the things that I never thought would matter more to me post-Big Trip than changing careers. Even more with a wonderful surprise by the end of my trip last year – meeting someone amazing and learning more about myself along the way. 

I just started working again the start of March. I did work a bit late the past two days, but it was a conscious decision from my part to finish by a certain time. It was also a conscious decision to try to not be stressed out and just do my best. I have changed in a way that now I know that how I work and the things I accomplish at my work place do not necessarily define who I am as a person. Yes, I do still care what my boss and my peers think about me, but not to the point of putting too much pressure on myself. I may not have been that ‘lucky’ to have changed careers and live the ‘dream life’, but who am I to complain? I was so lucky to have found a good-paying job right after my trip. Lucky to have a job that does not include certain functions that made my life so miserable before. I have all that I need now. 

Traveling and following my heart has also made me content and patient. Yes, I have another life goal and dream in mind. But I try not to expect too much from anything or from anyone. It’s not ‘just being okay’ with what you have right now, it’s knowing that you have all that you need for now, and that you can’t expect too much from certain situations and from people. This I truly learned from traveling. When your train in India is three hours late, you can’t be stressed out. That will only make things worse. You learn to take those three hours as a time to actually observe and take in the different culture that is right in front of you and around you. You tell yourself how lucky you are to have had the chance to witness those different and amazing things. Shit happens like missing your train or getting so sick for five days. But these things shall pass. You will eventually get to where you’re supposed to go to. Plans sometimes do not pan out the way you wanted it to, but there are so many more adventures out there for you. It’s just up to you to find it. It’s up to you to be open and let things happen. Do not expect too much and just be open. There are wonderful surprises out there waiting to happen. It may take time, but it will happen. But for now you have all that you need. Be thankful. 

Port Barton, Palawan

Following my heart has made me accept who I truly am as a person. In the process, I disappointed people that are important to me. And it was very very hard and painful. But as one important person told me, sometimes we need conflict. Conflict to bring out all the issues and to understand each other more. To make the relationship better. I have also learned to fight for my dreams and my character. When you know in your heart that you are not doing anything wrong or not hurting anyone intentionally, then you should do what makes you happy. You don’t have to explain your happiness to anyone. Do not let anyone question how you should live your life. It’s your life. It was definitely not easy for me, but things are indeed better now. 

I may not be a travel photographer now, at least not yet (it doesn’t hurt to dream). But how I live my life now, every single day of it, is a lot better than before the Big Trip. It’s not a ‘big’ change. And looking back, I think this is what I needed to learn. And I’m grateful, truly grateful. :)