I had just graduated and had always nurtured a wanderlust kinda feeling, well actually it was more a suppressed longing to see what was out there.
To put this in perspective, my travel experiences to that point had been a combination of jeepneys, trikes and the occasional bus. So throwing caution out the window and as few pesos as I could, I headed out on a backpacking trip and continue to do so as often as I can.
I had always felt that travel would grow me as an individual, teach me perspective and I’m not proud to admit it, but there were times before this trip that I’d scroll through my Instagram feed and ‘hate-like‘ all of the beautifully filtered photos from what seemed like hundreds of people traveling to more, or more exciting, places than I was.
How easy it was to get swept up in that warped cycle of thinking. Friends always spoke wistfully of a desire to visit the UK or the United States, if only they could save up the cash or secure that elusive visa. It made me think travel is a privilege, not a birthright, and something we forget when we’re sucked into the dangerously provincial vortex of keeping up with et al.
Travelling to less fortunate countries than your own, changes your life perspective – you realise how lucky we are that, for example, in the Philippines almost every child has access to public education, that they are able to get buildings get rebuilt after earthquakes, that the water in their toilet bowls is often cleaner than the drinking water available to entire villages in less fortunate countries. That we can hold our government, cops, religion, etc., to account for themselves and that freedom of speech is generally protected.
The great thing about expanding your horizons when you’re traveling is that you get to see some really stunning places, sample local cuisine and culture and positively contribute to a country’s economy by spending your much-needed bucks there. The silly thing is that what you or I might consider a trivial expense, can make a difference to a family for a day/week etc, in certain countries – it’s all ever so humbling and really brings you down to earth with a bang.
Travelling has radically altered my outlook on life, given me the opportunity to get things in a realistic focus and grow me (still growing). It’s a privilege that anyone can take and far from being worried or scared about it, embrace the experience with open arms and enjoy the returns it gives you in your improved attitude to others, your frame of mind and a new dimension added to your life.
For me the thing is that before I started to travel, I was capable of making some rash and presumptuous choices, but travel has armed me with not only an appreciation and understanding of other countries and cultures and opened my eyes to the fact that if we all try just that little bit more to make a difference, we can.
How about you? How has travel changed your life?
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