“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
The past 22 days I’ve spent backpacking in Central America is incredible beyond words. I’m now back at home with my wanderlust temporarily fulfilled, an unpacked travel backpack, and almost 8 GB of photos and videos to edit. But above everything else, new perspectives, gained insights, and a better perception of myself, my life, and the world as we know it:
Photo credit: Tumblr?
1. You can do something epic everyday. You can go on an adventure every single day. Or you can at least be productive and create something beautiful. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I slept at eight different hostels and traveled through seven different places in Costa Rica and Panama. Each day gave birth to a new adventure and a new and different sun. Then I quickly realized how much I have taken advantage of my days.. that I’m not living through each brand new day to its utmost potential. Each day has the power to change your life, each moment has the power to change your life. The limitations are just all in your mind. And you need to break those limits moment by moment, day by day. Each day has the power to be life-changing and adventurous. It all depends on your perception and the impetus within you to do something incredible. Go on that adventure. Inspire. Create. Repeat.
2. I’ve come to terms with my insecurities. And I’ve realized how ridiculously silly I have been being so conscious about my body. For feeling the need to wear eyeliner because I’ve been so accustomed with the way I look with it. Or having to straighten my hair because it’s too frizzy (conveniently my hair straightener broke the day before I had to leave for my trip, and I also forgot my brush at home. I never brushed my hair through this trip and I actually love how it looks untamed. Funny how the universe works.) So here is an ode, to my body: I love you. I will take care of you more than I ever have. Not because I want you to look better but I want you to feel better. Your stretch marks, scars, callus, fat, sensitivities and imperfections are all things I’ve come to love about you. And if others don’t like it then damn them! Who cares? Your purpose is not to constantly become altered to please others.. your purpose is to always push your limitations and boundaries in order to grow, to get stronger, and to feel better.
This society has imposed this notion that everything revolves around the standard of beauty wherein everything and everyone must be perfect and flawless. That they have to grab the next best thing. As a result people look past the inner beauty of the self that is found in each one of us. It’s such a blinding perspective. A sad perception to have. So here’s to you, and all others: You are perfectly imperfect. And your body is yours in this life. Our bodies are our flesh suits to which we reside in infinity. Love is within yours, mine, and ours.
3. I’ve realized how much I had overpacked. But it’s a learning lesson not just with packing and traveling.. but with everyday life as well. Do I really need these things that I buy and use or not use? It’s an attachment. A safety net. Acting like you would need something when you really don’t is just for security. Minimalism should be key. I don’t need the what-ifs and the just-in-case. All I need is the basics and when I need something I don’t have it’ll be right in front of my face in the most convenient and perfect circumstance.
4. Obviously not everything will be pretty while traveling. There are times when you have to just deal with negative circumstances in the most graceful and peaceful manner. The more you resist to what’s happening the more you will attract these negative circumstances. If you accept everything that comes including the problems and the mishaps.. and understand why it is here instead of fighting with it then the problem will dissolve and you will continue to flow freely with the universe. By changing your perspective and looking through the situation in a positive manner you are understanding why it’s there. Everything happens for a reason, a reason that will constantly teach us life’s most important lessons. You must always remember that circumstance doesn’t create you, you create the circumstance.
5. I want to become a fluent speaker of as many languages possible. Spanish is such a beautiful language and I’ve realized how easy it is to learn compared to other languages. Tagalog and Spanish has similarities which should make it easier for me to learn. But like with everything else in life you must always practice and be consistent with it. Traveling with a Spanish-speaking friend made it convenient for me. However I would have let myself learn more if I have a phrasebook and was just traveling by myself and forced to speak it. Yes it’s fun to communicate with gestures, body language, and expressions too.. but it brings light to people’s eyes when you are a foreigner speaking their language. They take pride in their native tongue and speaking to them in their language gives them a stronger sense of connection.
6. In order to avoid danger and mishaps you must always keep a strong and positive mind. I’ve met a couple travelers who who came across unfortunate circumstances. If you always worry about something bad happening to you then it will. At the same time if you become too careless with your belongings then you’re definitely more prone to theft, robbery and all other dangerous circumstances. The key to safe travels is having a clear mind, a bright perception, and always be careful. Stay in a higher frequency and believe that everything will always be okay. Trust your instincts and keep a good sense of judgement. Always.
7. I’ve always been afraid of heights (aren’t we all though?). A long-held fear.. an illusion on my mind I’ve held onto for so long. The guide showed us the basics in zip-lining. We went for a ride uphill through the forests. Then I found myself climbing a metal platform with all my zip-lining gear. Then I that’s when felt it. That crawling fear rising from my foot, circulating in my stomach and quickly spreading throughout my body. I looked down and thought to myself how the heck am I going to do six long cables of this? Then I saw the cable wire. It stretched all the way down through trees and in the distance I can see the waterfalls. Then that’s when I cut out that fear. All those thoughts telling me that it’s too scary simply faded away. Because my desire to conquer it, my desire to witness such beauty suspended hundreds of feet in the air weighed so much more than the fear in actuality. So the guide locked me in. I take a look at the piece of leather I am gripping in my right hand. This is supposed to be my brake? Oh right. I’m in control now. I took a few deep breaths. Then he pushed me off the platform. Right then and there my fear of heights.. that illusion.. is shattered completely. And there I was, zip-lining through Costa Rica’s rainforest, over an incredible waterfall, in pure happiness.
I know it’s only heights. But imagine if you apply this to every single fear you have? The desire will always outweigh the fear no matter what. We must always do what scares us. Big fears or small fears, whatever it is. Then once you face it and let it penetrate you, the fear will vanish. And you’ll be free.
8. I’ve learned that the best plan to have is to have no plan at all. Through not having a plan we discovered incredible places and met amazing people in serendipitous moments that wouldn’t have happened if we stuck with a plan. The beginning of each day is uncertain but at the end of the night I lay on my hostel bed with adventure and bliss pulsing through my veins.
9. This trip gave me more courage to travel on my own. I’ve met a bunch of female solo travelers who have been backpacking for years. Now that I’ve gotten a taste of what backpacking is like, I know what to do and what not to do on my next trip to Thailand and the Philippines. Traveling alone will become even more insightful.. another adventure awaits.
10. No matter where you are, you must always be in the present moment. The present moment is all you’ll ever have. Traveling in a different country, I felt more present in each moment. Being in the moment allows you to let your surroundings just sink into you. For life to just happen and to let everything be. In that infinite moment there is no thought or emotion. You feel the most alive when you are present. Some people find themselves saying “I can’t wait to come back to this place”, or “I’m going to miss all of this when I’m gone”, or “I don’t want to leave this place”. By doing that you are already living in the future, therefore you are not experiencing the full potential of the present moment. It that’s what we must always remember throughout the journey of life. To always be mindful. To always be in this place, right now, in this moment, and to see, feel, and hear all the beauty that surrounds you. Notice the small things that most people overlook.. the things that manifests the beauty of the universe. Notice each flying bird, grain of sand, waving tree, laughing child, crashing wave, smile, sunset, clouds in the sky. You are alive. And you are here. That’s all you’ll ever have. That’s where you should always be.