I am a person who is scared of so many things. I am not exactly the daring type.
Singing and dancing in public scares the hell out of me. Driving makes my palm sweaty. And thinking about piercings turns my knees into jelly.
But I live several thousands of miles away from my country, family, and friends. I have done this not only once but twice in my life. I intend to do it a hundred times over. I want to find out what the world has to offer.
I want to see Machu Picchu, get lost in the deepest Peruvian jungles, climb the high Andes, and get a glimpse of the White-Bellied Cinclodes. I do not want to just read about Peru. I want to go to Peru. I want to experience nature’s bounty for myself. I want to stand on the soil of the birdiest country in the world. If Philippines has more than 600 bird species, Peru has over 1,800. The figure is jaw-dropping, and simply reading about it fills me with euphoria.
I want to visit Picasso’s birth city, and experience Europe’s warmest winter in Malaga. I want to listen to La Marcha Real amongst the people of Spain. I do not want to just watch a flamenco dancer, I want to dance the flamenco myself and learn how to strum the Spanish guitar. I want to stand in front of the Sagrada Família and allow the greatness of its architecture engulf me. I want to listen to a Spanish historian tell the story of what was once the most powerful empire in the world. I want to learn one of the most spoken languages and speak nothing but Spanish for 3 whole months, so without pretentiousness and with just the perfect accent, I could say to myself “la vida es buena.”
I want to teach African orphans how to read and write. I want help build water pipes for the remotest African regions and tell a 6-year old girl that she no longer needs to make a 2-km 5 times a day for clean water. I want to touch the walls of African caves and decipher prehistoric paintings, and learn from the Ndebele people the art of beadwork and finger painting. I want to help rehabilitate lions and save sea turtles. I want to glide my hands around the trunk of a baobab tree, so I could understand the magnificence of the African savannas, then sit under its shade and watch the horizon turn into a golden orange.
A ticket to a new place is one of the best gifts you could give to yourself. On a birthday, on a holiday, or after a year’s worth of hard work. I have come to realize that life is more than just your loved ones and job, and learning goes beyond what most of us would phrase our comfort zone. Life is also about yourself, your personal growth, and learning how to become a person for those you never thought you would meet or would need you. Unfamiliar faces and places teach us so much more than we usually expect.
Life is indeed full of surprises. We will meet people and see places. We will lose people and leave places. But wherever your passion and shoes take you, what matters are the memories you’ve collected and who you’ve become.
What are the true risks in life? What makes you daring and what makes you not?
Today’s lesson: TRAVELING IS LIKE STUDYING. THE MORE YOU DO IT, THE MORE YOU LEARN.