December 29, 5:00 AM and a few days before the new year. I was at NAIA Terminal 2, alone and checking-in for my flight to General Santos City.
The airport terminal was busy, but not crowded. And after five minutes of watching people, my mind began to review the presentation that I’ll deliver that day to the GenSan Chamber of Commerce.
I reached the counter, checked-in my luggage, and started to walk towards my boarding gate.
Because I might not have enough time to change, I went to the airport in my business suit and never considered that I will look silly wearing that with my large, carry-on North Face transit backpack. Looking like a jetsetter is the least of my priorities, I justified.
I still had an hour before boarding time, so I calmly settled in one corner, and like most people there – I took out my smartphone, connected to the free airport wifi, and surfed the internet.
I opened my RSS reader and checked the latest articles of my favorite Pinoy travel bloggers, most of which have already posted their “Year in Review” and wrote about their best travel stories for the past year.
Upon reading their narrations, I can’t help but review my own year, and be thankful of all the travel opportunities I had during the year, which was three countries, five provinces and 9,155 Mabuhay Miles to be exact.
There’s a famous saying by Saint Augustine that states, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Indeed, to travel is important because it’s a powerful experience that can fundamentally transform us. Its life lessons are invaluable and some of it can never be learned in any other way… these below are just a few of them:
Traveling is a great way to learn.
If you asked me where Sultan Kudarat was seven years ago, I’d scratch my head and simply say Mindanao. Traveling has vastly improved my knowledge of Philippine geography. It has enhanced my appreciation of our heritage and history. And has taught me to understand our various local dialects.
Traveling helps you discover business opportunities.
One practical advantage of travel is that it puts you right in the center of an unfamiliar market. By observation and exploration, it is possible to stumble upon a great business idea that you can bring back home.
Traveling allows you to slow down.
When everything’s seems boring and meaningless – go out and go somewhere. Traveling forces you to break from your daily routine. The refreshing change in pace and scenery allows your heart and mind to heal, reduce stress and regain your enthusiasm for life.
Traveling helps you realize what’s truly important.
Do you know one of the reasons why it feels good to travel? Because it gives you the chance to live minimally – without unnecessary clutter and only the bare essentials. It forces you to mentally, physically and emotionally break away from the material things and extraneous stuff that burden you at home.
Traveling forces you to face your fears.
If you want to grow as a person, then you must get out of your comfort zone. Travel to a foreign country and you’ll learn how to be resourceful and to be curious. You will realize that getting lost is not necessarily bad, and it’s often a great way to find yourself.
Traveling takes you to a journey of self-discovery.
Traveling is more than just about making memories. It’s also an opportunity for you to reflect upon your own life. Whenever I gaze out of the plane’s window to the sea of clouds under me, I can’t help but ask myself life’s biggest questions, seek within my life’s purpose, and think about how I can lead a better life.
Traveling improves how you deal with other people.
When you’re talking to someone who barely speaks English, you’ll learn to become more patient and understanding of other people. Moreover, you will learn to let go of the unrefined assumption that those who speak, act and think different from you must be wrong.
Traveling introduces you to diversity.
I used to chuckle whenever I hear someone say “traysikol” but not anymore. Traveling expands your awareness, connects you to other cultures, and exposes you to different perspectives, beliefs and religion. But more importantly, it helps you get rid of your prejudice, ignorance and bigotry.
The Biggest Lesson
Peso. Dollar. Euro. Yen. There are a lot of currencies around the world, but I realized that there is one currency that everyone uses – and that is TIME.
You are given 86,400 seconds every day, and it is up to you how you’ll use it. You can choose to do nothing and waste it, or you can take action and use it to pursue meaningful endeavors, to invest it on life experiences that you can cherish forever.
Time is the only true and universal currency. Learn to spend it wisely.
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