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Monday, December 01, 2014

The 13 Life Lessons I learned from 7 years of Traveling

Ever since I got my first earning during my first job I promised myself that I will travel, so when I received my first paycheck  after an accomplished project I invited my friends for a treat to explore Puerto Galera in 2007 where I experienced total freedom and happiness. Since then like a drug I got addicted to traveling. The more I research about a province or a place of interest, the more I pursue to be there. Hence, traveling not only teaches me how to enjoy my life but merely teaches me some life lessons I can never ingest from school, lessons that I want to share with you all. Here are some of those:

1.       Having the right mindset: Traveling is not really that expensive

When people heard about “Traveling” one thing is for sure they will say that it’s expensive and more of spending too much money but traveling is less expensive than you think it is. There are so many ways to travel without spending much, it’ just a matter of planning ahead, saving, and travel in group.  If you want to slice up your expenses for your travel you must watch out for seat sale from airlines. Believe me seat sale is really a big help especially the 0 fare or 1 peso base fare promo from Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. Would you believe that we have been to Bohol, Cebu, Boracay and Palawan for just 500 pesos per way per person, much cheaper than a bus fare to Pagudpud for 600. Moreover, if you’re not into luxurious accommodations you can choose transient houses or inns that offer cheaper rates than of hotels. Addition to that, you can cut down your travel expenses if you travel with group because expenses are divided into individuals and you can get great deals and discounts from travel packages.

Aerial shot while on board a Cebu Pacific plane

2.       Financial management

Financial management simply because you learn how to budget and prioritize what you really need instead of spending too much in what you want. For my 7 years of traveling in group I always make sure that we have months to save. For an instance, airlines offer an advance booking for a particular travel dates and we avail dates with 6 months to 1 year allowance that gives us plenty of time to save from our salaries or allowances. Traveling also teaches us to sacrifice some of our shopping indulgence to save for a future travel. My personal experience for example, if I have to buy new set of clothes or shoes I choose brand that is pocket-friendly, or sometimes I disregard replacing my phone to a new one because my current phone is still in good condition, or at times moderating my coffee date in Starbucks and eating in a fine dine restaurant. Simple sacrifice that has big impact in saving a lot for future travel.

3.       Appreciation

In traveling, you will not only learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and the amusement you will feel when you see God’s creation, but the appreciation in every simple or little things you will see or have most particularly when visiting rural areas where locals enjoy the simple life they have. You will see that they are happy even if they don’t have much food on their table or even wearing the simplest clothes they have. By seeing them, you will appreciate more your life realizing that you are truly blessed in every ways and the blessings you received leave no room for complaining.

The children of Sagada

4.       Patience

In traveling your patience will be test for several times. Patience on flight delays, patience in waiting for your companion to arrive, patience in every mishap you will encounter, patience for long queue, patience when you encounter rude people, patience when your time is wasted, patience when things never run as you planned, and even patience with your own self. Let us admit it, not only in traveling but as well as in our lives that things don’t always go the way we want it, what important is how you handle an unforeseen situation and how you stand & recover after things go wrong.

5.       Don’t judge

For me this life lesson is applicable not only in traveling but as well in our daily lives. Like for example, as a researcher for our next destination, I always encounter good and bad reviews in every accommodation, tourist spot, people or restaurant. What I do is I evaluate exquisitely every aspect because sometimes bad and even good experiences happen unexpectedly. I never rely on blogs and information I gather from the internet alone, but I always give it a shot because we will never really know how stunning a place is or how comfortable a hotel is or how delicious the food is unless you experience it yourself. Like in life, we should never judge a person unless you really know him/her that well and you know what he/she has been through in the past.

6.       Be positive (always)

Life is more exciting when you travel but sometimes sticky situations may interfere along the way. This may happen several times when you think all is set and something is going great, something bad happens.  Learn how to be positive or look at the brighter side in every bad situation. Maybe the reason why things don’t go your way, something better is about to happen. What you need to do is learn how to adjust with the situation and come up with a good decision if needed. Always remember that you can make it through every unexpected circumstances, pick the lessons that can make you better the next time, and just go with the flow and for sure your travel will truly be unforgettable. 

7.       Pack light

In every travel, you don’t need to bring your whole wardrobe and cabinet with you, plan out what you really need most and choose to pack light. Perhaps, not only your body will suffer in taking your bulging baggage but also your pocket from spending extra baggage fee. What I do with most of my travel is writing down my travel checklist so I will not forget anything and pack essentials in small amount (sachet). Packing light means being comfortable with your whole travel experience.

8.       Don’t compare

Keep in mind that your travel experiences will not be similar to what you see in others. You have your own and you must enjoy every minute of it without worrying if you will do the same thing as what you saw on travel shows and blogs. You must create your own memories. Isn’t it fulfilling if you didn't expect what’s about to happen and just enjoy?! So don’t compare.

Beautiful sunset in Barcelona Sorsogon

9.       Be friendly by opening a conversation

When you are new to a place, the tendency is you are more of an observant than a talker. But there is nothing wrong if you make friends with the locals or with other travelers (local & foreign).  Don’t hesitate to ask some questions or just ask how their travel is. Through conversation not only you open your door to new culture and beliefs but you will absolutely learn something from them. Try to ask your friendly boatman about their daily living or ask the solo traveler from Europe the best places to see in their country or just get along with other local travelers.  Not only you increase your communication skills but you elevate your knowledge to something new, you boost your confidence, and you hear different stories & lessons that you can apply with yourself. Without a doubt, every interaction is an opportunity to learn and learning is a continuous process, so the more you interact the more you learn in life. Getting to know your fellow travelers is one of a kind experience that is really  fun thing to do. It is really amazing that in traveling you create not only connections but you build a new friendship. 

The Koreans we met in Bantayan Island
10.   Just relax

When I am on a vacation I make sure that my phone is just for taking beautiful photos, not to entertain phone calls related to work.  I just want to enjoy, relax and savor every memory I create while on travel. Beforehand, I made sure that I finished all my duties at work and tell my co-workers that I’m on leave and will not entertain calls. I want my vacation to be purely enjoyment and relaxation so I put everything back home and learn not to worry about everything. Accept it, you cannot work and travel at the same time, so give yourself the freedom from all the worries, the urban life, and work problems. Give yourself quiet moments of reflection and just ENJOY!


Panglao Bohol
11.   It’s good to try new things

In my 7 years of traveling, it helped me a lot to expand my border. I don’t limit myself of just being at home or at work because traveling for me is breaking out of my comfort zone and enjoying all the world has to offer. I want to discover more about the world; new food to eat, new culture to discover, new places to capture, new people to meet, new activity to fulfill, new challenge to overcome, new things to learn, and many more. In traveling everyday is a new adventure so don’t prohibit yourself from trying out new things you’ve not experience in your whole life. That is why H. Jackson Brown Jr., uttered these words, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Discover more about the world by actually getting out there, seeing it and experiencing it. Perhaps, all these beautiful experiences you will share to your children and grandchildren someday.

snorkeling in Coron Palawan

12.   Invest in experiences not things

As we all know material possessions are things that upgrade,replace, and not made to last. Experiences on the other hand are events in your life which leave an indelible mark in your life. Experiences that can make you smile every time you remember them. Experiences that you will never forget because these experiences mold you to become better. Experiences that you will never get tired of sharing to your children and grandchildren. Experiences that no any amount of money can buy!

13.   Traveling is the best teacher

There is a Chinese proverb saying that “We gain more from traveling ten thousand miles that studying ten thousand books.” I 200% agree with that because in traveling you get knowledge firsthand. You’ll be able to see the things you only see in books, magazines and television. The feeling is overwhelming while witnessing a phenomenon you only see from watching National geographic channel or Travel Asia. In traveling not only you acquire knowledge, you experience it and you have fun. 


Sumaguing Cave Sagada

I believe that traveling is the best education one can get because not only you learn Accounting (budgeting), Geography (all about a place), Physical Education (hiking, swimming, trekking), Culinary (new food to eat), Arts (museums),  and Science (how things are formed) but you learn how to be HAPPY. You learn how to ENJOY no matter how hard life is. Because traveling is not just for FUN, it will make you a BETTER PERSON! So get up there, pack your things and do something AWESOME! Cheers for more travel!

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