For 22 years, I have been content in staying inside the house, never wondering what stepping outside my comfort zone and discovering new places would feel like. That all changed last year when I climbed a mountain, went to Baguio, enjoyed the water in beaches, rivers, and waterfalls, and flew overseas in a matter of three months.
It may be cliché to say this, but I’ve never felt so alive. I didn’t know that the world around me had so much to offer. Now, I can genuinely say that I’m a much better person because I dared to take that first step towards a journey of finding myself by getting lost in something unfamiliar. Whenever I do travel, I always keep these three things in mind to make the most out of it:
“This might be my only chance.”
This might be the only chance I’ll ever get to be in this place, so I will take it all in. I make it a point to taste the unique local delicacies, visit the famed tourist attractions, try the challenging or frightening activities, and buy the exquisite crafts. My mindset is always “now or never” because there’s no assurance that you’re ever going back there. You owe it to yourself to discover and experience everything about the place.
“Why am I here?”
Not all destinations are the same. Some are extravagant, while some are underdeveloped. Some are clean, while some are jagged. Some are comfortable, while some are rough. But you know what? Every destination has something to give you. You’re there to discover something: about the place, about the people, and even about yourself. If you fail to realize what it is, then you’ve failed to discover something very, very important.
I thank God for the richness of the mountains, the glow of the stars, the comfort amidst chaos, the striking heat of the sun, the lovely birds chirping, the adorable kids smiling, the rugged streets full of life, and the sea of curious faces. I thank the locals who take time to talk to me, bring me to my next destination, and even share a piece of their lives with me. I saw a quote once that says, “Fall in love with as many things as possible.” And I think that’s the main reason people travel. Isn’t that such a great thing to be thankful for?
You leave the place, but the place will never leave you. The sights, feelings, experiences, and learnings will stick to you. Every destination is unique for every traveler, and it’s on you to find out and discover what that is. Every time you step into the unknown, remember to be thankful for the privilege of turning that question mark into an exclamation point full of unforgettable moments. Adventure is out there, and there’s absolutely no reason to not discover it yourself.