Don’t run from lessons; they are little packages of treasure that have been given to us. As we learn from them, our lives change for the better.
Not everything is supposed to become beautiful and long-lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while, or to just be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever, and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they’ve given us.
I first started traveling one destination at a time where I make a research of what places to see, what things to do, what stuff to try, what foods to eat, etc. I usually spend almost a month in one country exploring its different provinces. Then I tried dividing my vacation days to two countries. It was better. My most recent vacation though was something I didn’t really have time to plan about. My vacation was cancelled a few times the last two years and I almost have given up thinking about it. When schedules were finalized and I can really go on leave, I wasn’t sure where to go. First Jordan. Then Qatar and Jordan. Then Qatar and Georgia. Or just Georgia. I ended up traveling to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Qatar and Jordan.
Among my main goals while traveling are to indulge myself in alcohol and suffice my palate with dishes I have never tried before and eat every pork dishes available in the place. 😅 (I’ve been living in Kuwait for the past nine years and a half, alcohol and pork are prohibited here.) And over the years, I’ve learned that one of the best things about travel is not merely about the places you’d be visiting or the food you get to taste the first time but the things you learn while traveling. Of course I can only speak for myself and so as far as I’m concerned, traveling has taught me a lot of things about people, culture, tradition, food, places, history and life in general. It also has taught me a lot of things about myself.
Most of my travels in the Philippines were spontaneous ones. I get to go to provinces three hours or more away from my hometown with just an hour notice. When I started traveling to other countries though, I had to research and make a list of things to do, places to go to, where to stay, etc. It was okay at first but following a certain schedule while traveling makes me feel my options are limited. I felt like I’m not getting the most of it so I went back to traveling without having everything planned. Today, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned from my most spontaneous vacation.
It’s very important to be very flexible with your plans so when forced to make last minute decisions, it won’t turn out so bad. Even the most indecisive person can change and learn how to make spontaneous decisions while traveling. Your plans could totally change but roll with the changes and discover other ways to enjoy.
You need not be multilingual.
While knowing a second (or more) language can really be very helpful while on the road, I have never been trapped in a situation where I badly needed to have known one. It’s sometimes embarrassing that the people I meet are bilingual but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying their company. And I was never in trouble for knowing just one.
Strangers can be the best guide books and they can be the best of friends you’ll ever meet.
While there are a lot of ways that could be of help when traveling alone like Google maps and stuff, strangers can still be the best guide books ever. I once asked a stranger how to go to this particular restaurant that serves traditional dishes while in Vietnam. He helped me find the place but suggested an even better place! And when I visited the place he recommended, I’ve met several other people there as well, a few of the best people I’ve met while traveling. Every stranger I’ve met has lead me from one place to another and each place was definitely a worthwhile experience.
Unplanned travel escapades are where the fondest of memories are.
I’ve always find spontaneity a lot more rewarding than a carefully planned life. Since I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 18, almost everything that happened in my life were unplanned. Same thing when I travel. The many instances where I wasn’t prepared during the trip turned out to be the best and where the fondest of memories were made. I’m not a big fan of surprises but I am always amazed where my love for spontaneity leads me. Unplanned escapades are usually short but in my experience, it’s never short of thrill and excitement! These memories are the ones I relive again and again. It never fades. The memory of each unplanned adventure never gets old.
It’s not always about where you go. It’s also about the people you’re with and things you do together wherever it leads you to.
No matter where I go to when I travel, one thing happens for sure, even if I don’t initially notice it, I come back a better person than who I was when I left. I gain more positivity and courage so thanks to the people I meet along the way. Every person I meet is unique and has something to offer which adds to the excitement. Never in my life have I thought of going on an escapade with marijuana smokers and learning a lot about life from them. Turns out, they’re a few of the kindest of people I’ve met.
It’s okay if things go wrong.
My parents, my mom specially, raised my brothers and I to always follow the rules. If we follow the rules, nothing could go wrong she said. Sure, generally she’s right but following the rules all the time is not fun. Following what the guide books say, it leaves us with little chance for spontaneity. It limits us from appreciating the beauty of the unexpected. When things don’t go according to plan, be okay with it. More often than not, it leads to better and more exciting adventures.
Inform your bank.
It is important to inform your bank about your travels because during my recent trip, they put my card on hold because of suspicious transactions. Know that when your bank notices something unusual on your transactions, they have the right to put it on hold. For my bank, there’s an option when you log-in online where you can inform the bank of your travel dates so they wouldn’t suspect your future transactions. It’ll be hell to have no money while in a foreign country so consider this.
This is a serious pain in the ass. For years, packing my things is what my travel nightmares are made of, I’ve never learned to travel light until my most recent escapade. Having to travel from one country to another at a very short notice, I had to ask my then still stranger travel buddy to pack my stuff for me. My packing skills are seriously awful. It’s amazing to see her how to do it and yeah, I definitely learned a lot from her. It’s not easy travelling from one place to another with large suitcases.
Appreciate and surrender to the moment.
Of course it’s nice to take photos of almost everything beautiful and interesting when you travel — the tourist spots, the food you’ve tasted the first time, the views, etc. — but sometimes, we forget to appreciate these things as it is because we’re busy taking photos for Instagram. During my recent travel, I wasn’t as prepared as I usually am — phone, camera, extra batteries, chargers, etc. — but I also get to appreciate everything more and I get to see and explore hidden gems because my phone was dead. I was left to explore the streets not knowing where it’ll lead me. Surrendering to the moment made the trip so much more exciting, interesting, educating, fun and special.
Life is so damn good.
Sometimes we forget to be grateful how fortunate we actually are. As I grow older, I become more grateful for being alive and having the chance to travel from time to time. Life is good. I know we all have times when we feel like life is so unfair but life is good, homo sapiens. Life is so damn good.
There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.
Guess what? I think it’s the best time of the year to give my readers that chance to get to know a little bit more about Just_Me, yes, that’s me! Today’s post will be a minute of random facts about me and some lessons I’ve learned in the past twelve months. Here we go…
1. I am a big fan of Roger Federer. I love Roger! 😍🎾
2. I can play the drums and it’s the only musical instrument I can play.🥁
3. I love to sing but I’m way, way, way out of tune.🎤👩🎤
4. I’m not comfortable on the beach, on a river, lake or whatever bodies of water. I’m not afraid of water, just not comfortable with it.
5. I have a bad habit of overthinking things waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy tooooooo mooooooore than I should. 🤔😔
6. I am frequently misunderstood.
7. I can be wickedly sarcastic.
8. I’m a rebel. (Even just for the hell of it!)
9. I’ve tried meditation several times for the past one and a half years but failed. I think I need more time.
10. I don’t have an appendix since I was 13.
11. I fell from a horse when I was 14.
12. I like Game of Thrones and House of Cards.
13. I’m a fan of X-Men (specially Wolverine/Logan!) and The Lord of the Rings.
14. I have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
15. I do not wear make-up.
16. I always wake up 10 or 15 minutes earlier before my alarm. ⏰
17. I love beer/alcohol and I don’t easily get drunk. 🍺🍻🍸🍾🍷🥂
18. I drink coffee like it’s my job and I want it black and no sugar. ☕️☕️☕️
19. I can eat a jar of peanut butter.
20. I’m a big fan of solo travel. ✈️🚕🚇
21. My dream job was to be a lawyer. But I really wanted to be a singer/performer, too!
22. I’d choose vegetables over meat.
23. I feel very much at home in libraries.
24. I’ve been keeping a diary since grade school though I don’t really write every single day. Since 2009 though, I made it a point to write daily and I was consistent with it until some time last year where I stopped for a while and continued again after a couple of months. I’ve decided to stop writing though since the new year.
25. I would love to do volunteer works in Africa or anywhere I haven’t been to.
26. I enjoy reading and I have more than 50 books unread on my shelf. I like historical fiction and surreal works like the books of Haruki Murakami. 📚📚
27. I don’t like being late.
28. I’m almost always open to trying something new.
29. I love food. Food is life.
30. I don’t know how to save/control my own money so my mom does it all for me. 💰💰💰
31. I like long hours of travel.
32. Today is my birthday. 😊😜🤭🤫
And some lessons that I’ve notably learned this past year are:
1. Even the seemingly perfect relationships end.
2. Letting go of whatever painful baggage we’re holding onto allows us to feel better, be better and it makes us stronger.
3. Talking to strangers is one of the best ways to meet wonderful people.
4. Change is always possible, any time, any moment.
5. Embrace rejection.
6. Forgive everyone everything.
7. I’ve loved. And that’s all that matters.
8. The only people we need in life are those who want us to be in theirs.
9. Mean words can scar a person for life.
10. Some people can stay in our hearts, sure, but not in our lives.
There you go… I also feel like I’m in the mood to answer questions today so if you have any, feel free to ask in the comment section.
Enjoy the day, homo sapiens! 🙂
Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.
One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go.
Whether it’s guilt, anger, love, loss or betrayal.
Change is never easy.
We fight to hold on and we fight to let go.