I got a C! But it is not what you think. It is not for English or for Math or for some other subject. I took a test in Lakbayan measuring how much of my beautiful and beloved country, the Philippines, I have visited.
C! Not bad! It may mean just the passing grade or “good” but for travel, I will take it.
My family did not really travel much when I was still a kid. Sure, I got some taste of it during field trips and a few family events. But that was about it. I stayed home while people I know explore every inch of the country. I used to think that it doesn’t matter because I do not have much of a liking for travel anyway. I would rather stay in my comfortable home. From time to time, I would go out to eat with some friends, watch some movies or simply hang out in malls. I was perfectly okay with that routine.
All that changed after my first official adventure. After saying “no” a few times, I finally said “yes’ to my cousins’ incessant begging for me to join them on a trip. What can I do? They were desperate to have me on that trip. Just kidding. They just wanted me to enjoy for once.
In that adventure, I learned what real travel meant. You get lost. You encounter uncomfortable situations. You meet difficult people. You have to be on top of things most of the time, including staying within your budget. You have to be flexible with the “how” of things as long as you achieve the “what”. You find magnificent places. You discover exquisite food. You are forced to get out of your bubble and really talk with people. You learn more about yourself. You do things you never thought you could. You enjoy things you never thought you would. You are changed.
The word, “enjoy,” cannot even suffice to describe what I experienced. I was elated! I was enthralled!
Now, I have put travel higher in my priority list. I have been to a number of places and I have enjoyed every fun and challenging minute of it. However, there are still a lot of fascinating places I have yet to see. I haven’t even been to Batanes, Palawan, Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud, Sagada, Hundred Islands, La Union, and Surigao. I would not stop exploring more and more of this paradise I call home.
Give me a few years. I would push that grade even higher.
*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 18: A map as your muse