Confession time: I didn’t always like the idea of travelling.
It’s ironic now that I’m spending most of my monthly income to book plane tickets and hotels instead.
Even more when I’ve decided to write more about travelling than politics, finance and economics.
Topics, for what it’s worth, I always love to read and talk about.
When I was younger, I wasn’t like many people in the travel blogging lot.
I didn’t quit any job to travel the world. I didn’t wake up one day thinking I had to travel to find my life’s purpose. Nope. I had already done my fair share of seeing beautiful destinations at a young age.
I travelled. Extensively.
My grandfather wanted us to travel more in hopes that by seeing the world, we wouldn’t settle down so easily. This was carried on to my mother and in hopes, to me.
In fact, she pretty much made a career out of it too. Travelling from international destinations to small provinces all over the Philippines. Sometimes for days, weeks, and at one point, months.
And so it’s pretty ironic that her child grew up to not only be afraid, and intimated by the idea of being on the road but to also, at one point, resent it.
My family has dedicated their lives to travelling and entrepreneurship. I wanted to stray away from that for the longest time.
I grew up choosing to paint and to design rather than booking flights. Even though I wanted to see the world, I didn’t like where travelling took me.
The idea of chasing sunrises and sunsets, eating strange food, and going to new places every break was thrilling for my Mom. Her job allowed her to make a difference to rural communities in the Philippines along the way. She really loved being on the road.
And she wanted me to feel the same way.
But the thing is…No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t.
I remember arriving in Hong Kong for the first time when I was nine. The cold was enjoyable, the bustling street even more. But I cooped myself up in my room for days afterwards, missing out on school, because human interaction was just too much.
I remember going to the U.S.A for the first time when I was 12, intrigued by the grandeur of New York and the roller coasters all across the different parks at Disney World in Orlando. And as a result, any theme park in Asia was a disappointment.
I remember becoming agitated to just come home and be on the computer, learning HTML/CSS because I wanted my Friendster profile to be like my own Blogger website. Ha. How embarrassing.
But I loved it more than anything else.
Heck, I wanted to pursue medicine or law instead of being my own boss. Without knowing it would one day lead me back to choosing travel and entrepreneurship.
No matter our financial situation, my family wanted me to see the world. They wanted me to travel.
It allowed me see the world, and to constantly compare it with one thing over another. It made me afraid.
At 22, I finally learned I wasn’t travelling.
I was afraid. I was intimated by the world.
I was on a constant vacation in every school break for the last 15 years of my life. From international to local destinations, I’ve never had the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the culture.
Do I still get to say I’m a traveller, then?
There’s not really a difference to how I choose to explore a city.
I look for local stops while also seeing what tourists like flocking to.
I look for hole in the walls rather than restaurants.
And yet, I still feel it’s never enough.
I still felt intimated by the idea of boarding a plane.
I lost people on the road too — My Mother, for her love of it. My Father, during a vacation gone wrong. My innocence in the face of a gun in New York City.
My wonder of the world disappeared when I started seeing more of it at a young age.
I’m now more afraid to see cities I haven’t met. I’m intimated by people, strangers and friends alike, who want to explore unknown territories.
I grew tired of seeing so many places that to see something new became a foreign concept.
And by seeing something new actually made me associate travelling with one of those popular society girls everyone knew about in High School. One of those girls you just knew, you’d never be friends with.
Travelling daunts me.
But those facts, those feelings, those instances — they don’t stop me today.
Slowly but surely, a better part of me has awakened while immersing myself in a new city.
The anxiety of never making it home or of missing out on a career is fading away each and every time I write about how my so-called vacations changed my perspective of life.
I’ve met the friendliest locals in what the media dubs as a dangerous city, Johannesburg.
I’ve listened to Mozart impressionists play on the streets of Vienna.
I’ve strolled through Barcelona all on my own, getting lost in the city’s lights, and the feeling of contentment.
Questions about life itself have never been answered because of travel. Similarly, I feel like I’m gaining a better understanding on how to answer them in each new place I visit.
Travel forces me to trust strangers (more often than not), and it pushes me to walk for hours and hours through cobblestone streets.
It intrigues me but at the same time terrifies me.
And being in that kind of state, where you’re unsure of what life has in store for you…That’s where the thrill comes from.
This kind of thrill that I can’t seem to find anywhere else.
It’s a thrill I’ll gladly chase.
That’s why I still do it.
That’s why I still travel.