How Travel Changed My Life

Traveling did not change me.

I have always wanted to travel but adulthood caught me completely off guard. I would have considered myself successful though because I have a job that pays - only if it wasn't slowly taking my life away. I realized life is too short to be stuck daily in traffic and hating my boss. The world is too big for one lifetime that I would never want to end up regretting not doing the things I could have done. I longed for freedom. And so, I created mine.

I traveled one place after another to make a temporary escape from routine, cultural norms, social paradigm, work... pretty much everything adulthood has laid before me and be gone somewhere else where life is completely different. Well, it is indeed different.

I was welcomed with uncertain hitchhikes, uncomfortable habal-habal rides, slow buses, suicidal vans, delayed flights, and nauseating boat rides that have slowly opened my eyes to the ugly truth about traveling. How it isn't really an escape. How it pulls you back to reality. The reality not every traveler really talks about.
Balut Island overlooking Sarangani Islands
Traveling usually looks exciting and Instagram drool-worthy. Well, in some ways, it absolutely is. But traveling is not always pretty. It isn't always a journey to paradise as I would have hoped. It chews on your bank account and feeds on your time. It is physically and mentally draining. It can be disappointing. Heartbreaking, even.

But why do I keep on traveling despite all of that?

I wouldn't say I am well-traveled. I still spend most of my days with a 9-5 job, just like you do. But whenever I have the chance to do something new, I don't let it slip away. Because to tell you honestly, traveling is the most exhausting, financially draining, and troublesome thing I have ever been so GRATEFUL to do. Why would I deny myself the experience? It is such an amazing world out there.
White Island, Camiguin
It is amazing how I lost attachment to material things because there are far more important things than the latest gadgets, clothing, or jewelry.  Plus the dire need to save up for my next trip allowed me to live my life simply.

And so it follows how easily contented and grateful I am for the small things that often go unnoticed, things that I used to take for granted. Shelter, clean water, fresh air, food. I could go on forever.

It is amazing how I keep on making friends from all over the country without ever just "adding friends" online. Or how the kindness of strangers and locals I barely knew always blows me away.
Mount Pulag, Benguet
It is amazing how those seemingly scary places make me fearless and confident. And how they never fail to show me the timeless beauty that's way beyond the bad image the media or the internet portrays.

It is amazing how I go out to find myself only to be lost in wonder.

And much more amazing how standing on top of the mountain makes me feel small that even my problems - no matter how big they are - seem insignificant. It only tells me that there's nothing I cannot conquer.
Mount Apo
It is amazing how I can think out of the box, be creative, and be a better problem-solver when plans fail and things don't come my way.

It is amazing how I can be dead tired yet feel so alive.

And even more amazing how different locals, different tribes, and different races teach me the same thing: we are all humans and everybody should be treated with kindness and respect.
Virgin Island, Panglao, Bohol
And above it all, it is amazing how traveling showed me what it means to be defeated, how it is to experience a series of unfortunate events, and what it’s like to be uncomfortable. Because I believe it is through those bad experiences and misadventures, can there ever be a discovery of self. I never really knew what I am capable of until traveling challenged and tested my limits.
Lake Holon, T'boli, South Cotabato
It is indeed amazing out there. You see, traveling is not just all about the destination and breathtaking views. It is also a journey to being comfortable in your own skin and simply being who you are.

Traveling did not change me. But it made me realize who I am deep inside. And just by living the life that reflects who I really am, life has never been better. :)

How about you? How has travel changed your life? Write down your story and share it with Traveloka.

#TravelokaPH #WhyITravel #TravelokaStories

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30-something grown up who still hasn't figured out how taxes really work. Needs improvement. Ineffable, nonetheless.


  1. Here you go again. Parang change is not coming lang. Mahilig ka talaga sa twist and I love it!

  2. ever since i follow this blog i wanted to go travelling. ikaw nag inspire sa akin. yung mga sinusulat mo para ka lang nagkukuwento na parang naging parte na din ako nung travel mo. soon makakatravel din ako.

  3. This. I'm not surprised anymore. Nice write up sarj!