|Live life to the fullest. Samal Island.|
I have always thought that my life would be defined by a cycle - work, sleep, and eat, or lack thereof. I remember that when I was still young, I often dream of visiting exotic places and immerse myself into new cultures. I would always read travel magazines and watch some shows of National Geographic Channel just to have a glimpse of what the world really looks like.
We used to live near the airport until I was fourteen. Seeing those planes flying to their respective destinations made me think about traveling and exploring different places, but I immediately scrapped off that idea, thinking that activity is only exclusive for wealthy people. I wasn't even a member of an affluent family in the first place. That notion changed for good when I decided to give traveling a try.
Almost three years ago, I finally decided that I wouldn't pursue a medical career. Being a BS Biology graduate of a prestigious state university, my former colleagues questioned my decision. Some supported my idea while others became hesitant and even got worried about my future career. To be honest, my self-esteem hit rock bottom and I thought that I was wasting my life. My other colleagues had already pursued their medical career, and here I am, waiting for nothing. I have never felt that frustrated before.
|Graduation day, April 2011.|
I started my journey in the road less traveled with just a few resources; it was rather a bumpy start. But in this day and age, promo fares became common and had allowed me to save more money in transportation. My field trips back in college had inspired me to travel and to explore different places of my country. As Ecology majors, we were required to visit different kinds of biomes and ecosystems of Mindanao. Those were the days when I truly appreciated the rich biodiversity of my country. There was indeed a reason why I took BS Biology in the first place. Soon, I began to wander and thirst for more adventures.
|Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor Island.|
|Osmeña Peak, Cebu.|
|Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake|
I began exploring more towns and cities outside Mindanao. I have visited Baler and tried to brave the big waves but failed. I have conquered two mountains namely Mount Pinatubo and Osmeña Peak which truly tested my patience and perseverance. And who would've thought that I'd visit the mystical island of Siquijor? Surely, its sheer beauty enamored me. No words can express how much I love that island!
Traveling has not just given me the opportunity to discover the beauty of my country, but it has also allowed me to experience life, as we know it. Because of it, I began to understand myself better. For years, my peers had influenced my dreams, aspirations, and interests in life. Some were good, while others had caused me to veer off the road; that I started to become a stranger to myself. My family and friends are always there to help me through thick and thin, but they will never, ever define my life. They might be able to see my weaknesses but it they will never see my true potentials. Along the way, I was barking at a wrong tree. Traveling for me is not my form of escapism as what they have thought, it's actually one of the ways to help me on getting back on track.
The first province that I have visited outside Mindanao was Cebu. It was my first time to travel alone and there, I met up with some of my newfound friends in the realm of travel blogging. I have never thought that I'll meet awesome people who share the same passion in life. Without their expertise, my journey wouldn't be complete. I am so happy that they weren't selfish of sharing some tips and tricks in traveling.
|Malapascua Island, Cebu|
Taking the road less traveled was the best decision I have made so far in my life. Before the journey, I have lost sight of the world and myself. Through the years, I thought the world has turned its back on me. I was wrong. The world hadn't changed at all; I had. Through the years of this journey, I found myself falling in love with the world and life again after visiting Manila on a shoestring budget. Love truly comes in the least likely of places.
When an opportunity came a year and a half after I started my adventure, I quickly grabbed it. Becoming an Air Traffic Controller was my childhood dream and I couldn't just let it pass. I can't even afford to miss it! Everything went well - passed the qualifying exam, medical exam, and interview. The training lasted for more than a year and some may think that this was the end of my journey. I may not be able to travel to different places for a year, but this journey did not stop. No, not at all! In fact, prior my training, I have learned so many things in life that were essentially important today. Those experiences made me a better, wiser, and stronger person.
|Fulfilling the dream of becoming an Air Traffic Controller.|
Now that I have already booked a one-way ticket to Tacloban, there are no reasons why I should turn my back. Honestly, I do not really know what is in store for me there but I know for sure that my journey will continue. Looking back, I never had any regrets of taking that less traveled road. That precious moment, no matter how beautiful it was, is bound to end. I often have this bittersweet feeling and have a hard time to move on. But, we have to realize that waving goodbye to a beautiful experience allows us to say hello to a new one.
I may not have explored the entire country yet, but one thing is certain - I have known myself better.
Let us celebrate life by exploring the world.