Tag Archives: traveling
People have different reasons for traveling. Some seek adventure, while some just want to simply get away. There’s also the thrill of meeting new people, discovering new places, and eating bizarre food. And for these reasons and so many others, travel has become a huge industry. In 2014, the United Nations World Tourism Barometer reported over one billion international tourist arrivals. A compilation of blogs and comments revealed that 32% of people travel out of curiosity. They want to see for themselves how other people live their lives. Gaining outlook and perspective is the second most popular reason for travelers. These are people who have skewed priorities and want a breather to hopefully get things right. The rest travel for adventure, for personal growth, and to see the world. And of course, there are those who travel to one place just to have the bragging rights to say that he’s been there. Whatever reasons one might have, traveling has always been a good thing. The many positive effects of traveling include keeping your heart healthy and your mind sharp, encouraging you to be more sociable, drive optimism, and essentially makes you happier.
But traveling is not easy. Before traveling internationally, there are many things that you should consider such as time off work, money, safety, and even getting your visa approved. Your traveling checklist should not be limited to what you should pack but other traveling fundamentals that actually affect the entire experience. Let’s go beyond what’s in the bag and find out the state of mind that all travelers must have. What are the things you should know about traveling? How can you really prepare for it?
Can you really afford it?
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You have to be realistic when it comes to your budget. A tour around Europe is nice. It’s a dream come true. But can you really afford it? If you find yourself having to sacrifice amortization payments, bills, and other necessities, then maybe it’s not yet your turn to see the Eiffel tower amid the breathtaking sunset. You don’t want to go broke upon your return. Other money matters include finding out the conversion rate, making sure your credit card will be honored in the country you will be visiting, checking out if there is are entrance and exit fees, and where you should exchange your currency for a higher value.
Safety always comes first
Do not just research about food and attractions. Research about security issues, travel warnings, and advisories in your target destination, too. Read news items regarding demonstrations, conflicts, and tensions if any. Before traveling internationally, download maps for you to be able to locate routes and attractions as early as possible. Before booking a hotel, check if it is located in a safe renting environment. Check if essential services like the police, hospital, or tourism offices are easily accessible in the area. “Safety first” should always be your state of mind.
Prepare for the unknown
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Camping is a mystery to some. They say “why would you want to sleep in the woods and pretend you’re homeless?” The same thing goes for travelers. Why go elsewhere just to live a nomad’s life? This is because travelers do not fear the unknown. And that is the first phase in the psychology of travel according to Rupert Wolfe Murray. A traveler must learn how to let go of things at home or he will never appreciate the things that will come his way while traveling. A traveler must prepare to be blown away. How a place will make you feel is something no picture can ever capture. At the same time, not all experiences will be good so you must be prepared to handle disappointments as well.
Be open minded and have the right attitude
Before going out there, make sure that you have the right attitude. Be open-minded about things. It is only then that you will learn how to appreciate and have fun. Every nation has its own ways, practices, and traditions. Immerse yourself in them.
Know before you go
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Learn a few local lines, read about the people’s history, and research about their culture. Not everything should surprise you. For example, it helps to know that in Japan, it is okay not to give a tip for any service. Read about laws such as in crossing the street or littering. Read about customs such as taking your shoes off when entering a building. You may want to visit the neighboring cities in London too. Learning about a country’s history, culture, and tradition is a way to show respect.
Finding a home
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As long as you have enough budget, finding a hotel should not be a problem. However, it is best to explore your options. Aside from the usual hotels, you might want to consider short term renting a condo if you will be staying for a week or two. Find out the best condo rental locations for foreigners. Mind the proximity to public transportation and other areas of interests. Make sure it is in a safe environment.
Living with the locals
Interact with the locals as much as you can. This is the reason why learning a few words and sentences should be on your traveling checklist. Observe how they do things. Observe how they interact with each other. Observe how they behave on the train, when they order food, how they go on their daily routine. Observe every chance you get because only then will you get to understand a nation’s people. No travel story will be complete without interacting with the locals.
A traveler’s perspective
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You should develop a unique perspective as you go about your travels. Use all your senses. Take things in. Once in a while, put down your camera and see things with your eyes and your heart. You should have a takeaway from every experience. Travel psychologist Dr. Michael Brein says that in traveling, a person must be able to re-examine the present in light of the past. T.S. Eliot wrote: “and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Going back to normal
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It is normal for most people to hate the end of every travel. Going back to work and back to the usual daily is not easy especially if you stayed in a foreign country for a pretty long time. So as much as travelers prepare to travel, they must also be prepared for the moment when they must return. There could be shock or despair. Remind yourself why you are going away in the first place. Because most of the time, travelers embark on an adventure so they can be better versions of themselves when they return.
The fundamentals of traveling do not end with packing, money, or an itinerary. The traveler himself must be prepared.He must be prepared for the before, during, and after. Be open to new experiences, gain perspective, and prepare to be blown away.
Traveling makes us richer. It makes us richer with memories, experiences, and stories. It makes us richer with moments that take our breath away. We leave the comforts of home and throw ourselves into the unknown all in the name of these priceless moments (or perhaps a new profile picture). We can read all about the places and look at pictures, but concept is so much different from experience.
Traveling isn’t easy, of course. You invest time and money. You prepare yourself to be recklessly thrown into situations you have no control over. But on the other hand, the benefits of traveling are way too many to pass up while you sit in a corner your whole life. Studies claim that traveling is the best medicine — it makes your heart and brain healthier. It keeps you young and it makes your soul happy. Whether you are exploring a new city or relaxing by the beach, the wonder of being in a different place keeps our hearts healthy. A trip to Boracay Island in the Philippines will give you such feels. The warmth of the sun against your skin, the calmness of the beach, and how the sand exfoliates your skin are just some of the health benefits of beach travel. Yes, travel benefits both the spirit and the body.
It also makes us better storytellers. St. Augustine famously said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” The many experiences and memories we gain, both good and bad, make us more informed and aware. That moment when we see a place for the first time and we are speechless is exactly what makes us good storytellers.
The best and most believable storytellers are those who have seen and experienced the world. Here’s how traveling turns us into a storytellers:
The good, the bad, and the breathtaking
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No matter how many travel blogs and reviews you read, nothing will ever prepare you for the things that await you in one place. For example, before traveling to Boracay, you probably know all about the fine white sand and the postcard-worthy sunset, but knowing how the sand feels between your toes and how the sunset makes you swoon is something you have to experience. You have to feel it. You have to see it. Seeing the place for the first time and then falling in love with it over and over again is what makes an experience and it is what makes you a perfect storyteller. You get to tell other people exactly how the sand felt.
Experiences into life lessons
There are thousands of traveling tips that you can easily spot online — what to bring, what to wear, where to go, which hotel accommodation to book, etc. But it is only when you get to the actual place that you realize what you missed to pack. It is only when you experience a place that you get to realize that there are so many other options, so many things you didn’t do or things you did that you shouldn’t have, what to say or not say, etc. These experiences turn into life lessons that make every story more valuable.
Beauty of getting lost
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Preparing itineraries, maps, and schedules are a good thing. But getting lost in a new city and roaming free is when we actually discover the most beautiful secrets of a place. The importance of getting lost when traveling ranges from discovery of a place to the discovery of oneself. You suddenly realize that your problem-solving skills are superb. You realize that you are capable of figuring things out on your own and at your own pace. You learn to trust your instincts, you learn to enjoy conversations with locals and other travelers, and you learn that you are perfectly capable of finding your way back.
All of your senses at work
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When you travel to a new place, your senses work very hard. You get to know a place by its exotic smell, its quaint sights, and how it feels — does it make you feel happy, giddy, safe, or scared? You go beyond visual details and go into sensory details. As a storyteller, you get to tell it as it is.
Meeting the locals
Locals are a big part of every adventure. Just by being in a bus full of locals will give you a glimpse of the different types of people when you travel — friendly, snobs, busy, tired, etc. You will learn about their peculiarities and what makes them unique just by observing and talking to them. You don’t get to read a lot of those in travel blogs. Traveling isn’t all about places. Most importantly, it’s about the people. You have to speak to the locals and allow them to get to you.
The food is everything
Food says a lot about its people. When traveling, skip the fast food and go for the authentic. When you travel to Boracay, you will realize that Filipinos are all about good food — fat, salty, sweet, and yummy. Healthy? Well, not so much. But fresh seafood? Now we’re talking. You will learn that in this island in the Philippines, food can be a conversation piece and can bring families and friends together. Meals are never quiet and formal. They eat with their hands and you should, too. You can write a book just by tasting a country’s delicacy.
New city, new rules
When traveling, you learn how to balance between allowing yourself to roam free while minding boundaries and restrictions. Rules are very important in telling stories about a place and an experience because they caution against needless hassles. Did you know that building sand castles is no longer allowed in Boracay? Did you know that giving “tips” is frowned upon in Japan? These are reminders that make a trip free from hassles and worries.
The possibilities when traveling are endless. You have to lose yourself. You have to be in the moment. Traveling turns us into storytellers by leaving us breathless and speechless. Experiences and memories fill our stories with sights, smells, and perspective. Traveling gives our stories value, authenticity, and emotions.
Our trip to Manila was greeted by boisterous thunders and a crying sky, begging us to stay in our hotel and postpone any plan we have to get out and have fun. Despite this inconvenience, we decided to go out because our time was very limited. Instead of going to Intramuros, we decided to spend the whole day in MOA – the 3rd largest mall in the world.
The very first thing that I searched inside the mall is the J.CO store (this doughnut store is not available in Cebu). After Krispy Kreme had opened two stores here in Cebu, J.CO somehow stole the doughnut rave fever. I am quite curious if it lives up to its reputation.
While searching for the J.CO store, we passed by the mall’s basketball court and guess who I saw? The big guy with the big hair.
I’m not a fanatic but I was so surprised that I spotted (well, MinOtte spotted him first) Eruption at the basketball court. He’s not famous but he’s the guy I have a secret crush on from Showtime. LOL. (: Anyway, here are a few snapshots of the basketball court inside MOA.
That’s Chiel, a close friend who waited for us for almost 4 hours at NAIA because our flight got delayed. ):
That’s MinOtte. (: