5 Lessons I’ve Learned While Traveling

Recently, I received a DM on Instagram from random people whom I’ve met in one of the many events I’ve attended. She asked, “what is really your job? ‘Coz I noticed that you’re always traveling.”

I laugh out loud in my mind (because I was at the office when I got her DM), but I told her about my day job. Coincidentally, one of the school papers that I need to fill in requires me to cite the places I’ve visited and purpose of travel.

Learn more about me.

I am a well-traveled person and most of the time my trips are for leisure. I’ve been to various provinces in the Philippines — hiked the UNESCO heritage site of Batad Rice Terraces, visited the new 7th wonders of the World – Calle Crisologo in Vigan and underground river in Palawan. I’ve also been to one of the world’s best islands – Boracay Island and El Nido in Palawan; went on a solo backpacking in South Cotabato to name a few.

Just this year, I embarked on my first trip abroad which was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and crossed the border going to Singapore.

Each journey teaches me a lesson. To sum up everything, here are the vital lessons that I’ve learned from traveling around the Philippines and abroad.

1. Be more patient
Having myself exposed in western culture because of my work, I adopted the fast-paced lifestyle. Waiting for anything – bus or plane, queue at the fast food chain or even waiting for a boss/client to email me back – drives me crazy. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned through my backpacking in Northern Luzon is to be patient. Whether it’s an 8-14 hour of doing nothing while you’re in transit to your destination, get a wrong bus going to remote municipalities in Ifugao, and encountered a road accident, or being scammed by bus drivers in Malaysia — these things happened and tested my character. Patience is indeed a virtue. I’ve learned to handle the circumstances as they come, which makes me appreciate the experience even more.

2. Stay curious
Being in a new place will probe new ideas and curiosities. What the local customs are, the local food, language did they spoke, and religious practices. Traveling, interacting, and observing the locals and natives will give you a better understanding; thus, turning these curiosities into discoveries. It will make you hungry to learn more, ask questions, and completely immerse yourself into new place.

3. Live simply
Believe it or not, you can survive a very limited budget. When we traveled around the northern Luzon for 10 days, we have a budget of P1,000 per day which included a budget for transportation, accommodation, food, and other expenses. Sleeping in rundown guesthouses, hotels with bed bugs, and tents pitched anywhere that you can find space really isn’t the end of the world. Steering away from lavish meals on the town and fancy hotels are other experiences that you may have to sacrifice while traveling if you want to save enough. As a result, you’ll come home and realize that you don’t need anything more than the essentials to survive.

4. Be Creative
It takes a little thinking outside of the box to get by. No Wi-Fi for directions. The buses to our next planned destinations are all booked. We board the wrong train. There are always alternatives, and bumps in the road that should never keep people from traveling. Studies show that people who travel think more creatively and better at adjusting to a new situation. When you’re out in the world, there will always be something to overcome, forcing us to be creative.

5. Try new things
Traveling, especially going on a solo trip, force you to come out from your shell no matter what. Doing what I’m used not to work when I travel. Therefore, I have to adjust. I would try to pick up the language and learn the basics so it’ll be easier for me to communicate with the locals. When I was in Malaysia, I tried to be adventurous in my food choices and eat where the locals eat. Instead of having the trip book through travel agencies, I chose to travel on my own and take the public transportation. It was not difficult after the first couple of times. For me, new places mean new opportunities that I should not let them pass by.

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