Love and Adventure : The 20 unforgettable things I learned from my travels

It’s like coming home after a long trip. That’s what love is like, it’s like coming home..

Awesome view of Batangas and Cavite from Mt. Batulao

 Another year has flown like a kite! I am now taking big steps near my thirties and to be honest, I’m not even nervous about reaching 30, I’m actually more excited of the new life ahead. Turning 28 is a big deal for me. Not entirely because of the numbers but more on the new and exciting adventures up ahead. I can’t really say that everything from my last birthday has been all glamorous and full of fun, I’ve faced lots of misadventures as well. From career challenges to heartaches, but somehow those things didn’t hinder me in enjoying life. You see, of all the great lessons life has taught me, one of them is to face life’s trials head on. Pretty much what I’ve been doing for the past 27 years! haha Travelling and exploring new places helped me cope in life and now it’s a big part of who I am. So let me share with you the 20 things I learned from my travels:

Me at the grand Eiffel Tower 🙂
  1. You learn to be more independent.

As you travel all by yourself, with no familiarity whatsoever on the places and people around you, it’s inevitable that you become independent. Don’t underestimate your skills in solo backpacking, because as simple as booking yourself a flight or getting yourself to unfamiliar bus terminal is priceless!

Sure it’s important that you ask people for help and directions but hell, nobody will take care of yourself but you alone!

Solo back-backing to Mt. Ugo 🙂
At the beautiful rice terraces of Maligcong, Bontoc
  1. Being outdoors makes you appreciate nature.

They say beautiful things doesn’t demand to be recognized. For me, that’s how I see the beauty of nature and being at one with nature simply soothes your mind and heals your soul. When you get to see and experience the great outdoors, and get to learn how it survived after all these years, you can’t help but appreciate how divine it is. More importantly, you wanted to help preserve it in your own little way.

Breathtaking view of the sea of clouds from Mt. Kofafey Summit
  1. Being outdoors teaches you to respect nature.

Appreciating nature is one thing, respecting nature is another. There is a saying that when you show respect for other living things, they show respect for you. I agree. That’s why as early as kids, we should teach our future children to respect nature through simple things like, not to step on a caterpillar or not leaving their trash behind. It saddens me to see some trash along the trails and on the open waters. I mean, come on people our mother nature is weeping. Let’s not wait for her to die or we too shall die with her.

Eat. Pray. Love. at Piazza Navona 🙂
ooooh Louvre.. 🙂
  1. Travelling makes you street-smart.

I’ve learned a lot about not only taking care of myself, but being extremely smart and following your instincts. During my solo travel from Rome to Florence, I was at the Termini looking for my platform. I must have looked clueless and so Turista-looking when I realized two guys have been following me for quite a while. My relatives warned me about snatchers at the stations so I immediately recognized their body language. So what I did was, I “acted” like I was talking on the phone with someone and talk as if I forgot something from my purse and went the opposite direction from them. After seeing me left, they went into the platform and hopped inside the train, possibly looking for another person to victimized.

The very kind and generous people of Mt. Ugo, Itogon Benguet 🙂 Thank you Capt. Medino! See you again soon! 🙂
My shy but awesome guide to Mt. Ugo, Kuya Ramsey
  1. 99% percent of people in the world are Good People.

I don’t want you to be discouraged in travelling solo or within a group because of the sad stories you hear from news or from other people. There is just one golden rule, you just simply have to be street-smart. But you know, 99% percent of the people in the world are really Good People. Especially on the remote areas, when we thought that these places are far more dangerous than the familiar cities. Absolutely not. You’ll be surprised of how kind and inviting the people are. Imagine, they would be willing to welcome you into their homes for a couple of nights or days just ‘cause you needed a place to stay. Not to mention, they will offer you their best bedrooms, food etc just so you will be comfortable during your stay. Trust me, there are far more good people than the opposite who only wants the same thing as you want: A better world.

The crybaby at the summit at Mt. Ugo haha my first ever Summit! 🙂
The view from Mt. Batulao summit
  1. Conquering mountains teaches you to be ambitious.

My first ever climb was at the Mt. Tarak in Mariveles, Bataan. Its climbing difficulty is considered as 4/10 but during my trek, it’s an ultimate 8/10! Hahaha I couldn’t believe I was able to climb those steep assaults when I thought I was about to die! But after conquering Tarak, I never stopped dreaming about experiencing different mountains not just in the Philippines, but around the world! You wouldn’t mind the excruciating pain on your back and legs because the feelings once you get to the top and seeing the magnificent view is out of this world.

International friends! haha
Awesome friends from my climb to Mt. Pulag 🙂
The Havey pips at Kufafey! 🙂
The very majestic terraces of Banaue with these crazy new friends haha thank you Untold Adcentures Philippines for such a wonderful adventure 🙂
New found friends from Ali-Buri Masbate. Thank you Gala Ph for the unforgettable experience 🙂
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Rome of Gala Ph
My first ever rock-climbing experience without any harness whatsoever! haha
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Friends for keeps 🙂
STORM RANGERS!! JC, Kix and Sef ; My favorite travel buddies 🙂
  1. Your circle of friends widens!

Back then I only introduce my friends as my highschool/college/neighbor/friend-through-a-friend/officemate – friends. But now it fascinates me how I get to introduce my new friends as conversation-starter like “I met them during my trip in —-.“ Crazy! Haha Now my friends from my travels are one of the most awesome people I’ve ever met.

Pundaquit falls!
  1. Spontaneity rather than stressing.

Things don’t always go out your way. That’s life, so when it gives you lemons, grab a tequila, right? Haha Don’t stress yourself about petty stuff because when you stick too much to schedule and things didn’t turned out well, you’ll be bummed about it. So learn how to take a detour.

“Bitch Perfect” ladies at Balete Tree, Aurora
  1. It’s A-Okay to get lost.

They say the only way to figure out if you and your partner/loved ones are compatible, travel together and see how he/she reacts when you guys get lost. It’s okay to get lost because you will always, always find your way home.

The serene mangroves of Alibijaban, San Andres Quezon
The road to Mt. Ugo summit
  1. Treasure the gift of silence.

Living in the busy streets of Metro Manila is as stressful as hell so whenever I get the chance to leave at work, I make it a point to go somewhere silent. Whether it’s inside the woods, on top of the mountain or along the shore, anywhere but with complete and utter silence, away from the noise and pollution is perfectly fine for me. You learn to treasure this simple gift of reconnecting with your thoughts and you get back to the city with a refreshed mind and soul.

Sunset at Burias Island, Masbate
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Scenic view of Maligcong Rice Terraces, Benguet
The mountain ridges of Benguet
  1. The best dreams happens when you’re awake.

Stop day-dreaming about certain places or moments in life. Open your eyes and live it! If you’re dreaming about going someplace for an adventure or vacation, research about it, try to be frugal and save for this “dream vacay” and sooner or later you’ll be experiencing the best time of your life!

Let’s go cliff-diving!!

  1. Don’t be a coward!

Have you seen the film “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”? I love the scene where he impulsively jumped into the helicopter in search for the clues on how he will find his friend, the photographer. The precious look of surprise on his face but with ultimate satisfaction is exactly what my reaction was after jumping off a 30-ft. cliff in Tali Beach, Batangas! I was like “Whoa! I did it! Suck on that!” hahaha So don’t let your fears conquer you hence, conquer your fears!

White Sand Bar at Masbate 🙂
The facade of the Basilica of Martin of Tours in Taal, Batangas
  1. Money can’t buy happiness.

Sure, money is essential. We all know that. But when you backpacking to different places and be able to see an entirely different world out there, it’s impossible not to be humbled by how little some people own and how little comforts make their lives seemed more fulfilling than yours. This experience right in front of you will make you start seeing the world differently, and makes you appreciate the little things in life like finding joy in the company of the people you love and having enough food on your table and be able to share it to other people.

Storm Rangers conquering the mighty waves of Binukbok View Point, Bauan Batangas
Kix, Domz, me and JC during bonfire at Binukbok Viewpoint
  1. That Stranger next to you can be your new best-friend.

Endless friendships are built while travelling. It’s impossible not to grow different kinds of friendships with the people you meet along the way. I mean, these people are in the right place and in the right time and you all have one thing in common – you love travelling. You both live, and breathe nature and it’s amazing that you can get to experience this great adventure with random strangers! And sooner or later, your communication will be constant and they become your travel buddies through thick and thin 🙂

Travel-tipid! That always helps 🙂
  1. You will finally understand how to be frugal.

That’s one of my weaknesses, to be frugal. I don’t necessarily travel galore or spend to my heart’s content when travelling because first thing, I don’t have a shit load of money! Haha but I also don’t know how to spend it wisely. But when you want to see the unknown places, there’s no way but to learn how to spend wisely and account for every penny that you have. Budgeting really is a skill but it can be learned through experiences.

The blues and greens of Masbate 🙂
Piazza Venezia 🙂
The Colosseum
We’re photobombing the fishes 🙂
  1. Record your adventures and Instagram it! hahaha

Everything is digital nowadays, so it’s waaay lot easier to document your adventure. Grab a small notebook, write your expenses and the direction how to get to your destination, write the name and number of the jeepney driver who dropped you off, take a picture of the beautiful sunset, take a video of the sea as you travel via ro-ro to an island, document everything because when you look back at all your adventures, you’ll be fulfilled in reminiscing those memories.

Zero visibility at Mt. Pulag
  1. Expect the unexpected.

My travel friends and I formed a group and named ourselves, the Storm Rangers. You wonder why? Because I was always teased as cursed and “Reyna ng Bagyo” because every time I travel with them, it always rains! Hahaha Seriously, anywhere I go it always does! At first I thought it’s just a coincidence but then, the unexplainable forces around me would just turn the happy, sunny day into cold and rainy day! Haha not that I don’t like the rain, but it’s just driving me crazy! Hahaha So yeah, always expect the unexpected.

The heavy wind at Mt. Pulag teared down some of the tents at camp 2
  1. Panicking wouldn’t help.

Let’s say the car broke down or your flashlight turned low-bat in the middle of the forest – at night! Yikes! Don’t panic because it will only makes things worse. Always look for an alternate solution to every mishaps. Just like our recent trip in Bauan, Batangas during my advance birthday celebration last weekend. We were being carried to the other side of the island via small boat. There were ten us of so we needed to take the boat per batch, and so five of my friends went on ahead of me and my other friends. And as usual, it was pouring so hard and the waves are too big for the boat to handle. As they ride the boat, one of its rafts split right in the middle of the ocean! The great waves are enormous and they almost panicked! Omgee right?! If I were on that boat I might have jumped into the water instantly because of panicking haha, but they maintained their calm and to our surprise, they even boosted words of encouragement to the bangkeros as they fix the rafts haha good job guys!

My hearts and flowers 🙂
  1. You don’t find love, love finds you.

Somewhere between heartaches and waiting comes another chance to be found by someone who can show you that you are worth everything. Few years ago, I have somehow accepted the possibility that I’ll end up an old maid who flashes people at the subway! Haha I thought maybe I’m just over the idea of finding someone who can be as wild and crazy as I am, who enjoys the same activity as I do, and simply loves me for who I am. No pretentions, no second-guessing. And true enough, that the best kind of relationships begin unexpectedly. Then love made me realize that you don’t have to look for it. It comes to you just at the right time; the time you never thought it would have.

20. Travelling helps you find yourself.

Being away from your comfort zone really takes a great toll in knowing who you are, what you are capable of, your strengths and weaknesses, and what you really want in your life. By going to unfamiliar places, you’ll get to discover many things and helps you know yourself more. Through nature, it calls you to take a step back, breathe, relax and reflect on your life and take a hard look on your past, present and future.

So go on, embark on an adventure! Don’t be afraid of what lies ahead, because you will never know unless you cross it. I hope these guidelines helped you somehow and do let me know about your next adventure! Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to meet someday 🙂

To all the Librans and Septembers babies out there, Happy Birhtday to us! We don’t get older, we just get more awesome! hahaha Cheers!

Paandar moments at Bauan, Batangas

Photo credits to Untold Adventures Ph, Gala Ph, and my good friends Sef and Kix – your go-pros are of big help! haha

xox, KC

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