Two weeks ago, I went on a ten-day solo backpacking trip heading to the North of Luzon. My schedule and the provinces I was going to visit were carefully planned. My itineraries were not. I just made them up as I went along.
You see, I just got out of a six-year relationship with my job and recently cut ties with some toxic people in my life. It was tough getting both out of my system. They were both not unlike bad habits that were hard to break. It was tough because in both aspects of my life, I was leaving my comfort zone.
I did not know what I wanted to achieve on my solo trip. Initially, I just felt like I needed a break from all the toxicity in my life, and going on a solo backpacking trip seemed like a good idea. I never imagined that I would gain so much from the experience.
I got to try new stuff for the first time, like jumping off a cliff. I was never afraid of heights but jumping into deep waters, plunging into the unknown, was something that I found a little bit scary and I conquered that. I also rekindled my love for things that I have already tried. Like surfing. There's simply nothing like the rush that you feel when you're riding a wave. You have to try it to understand what I mean. Now, it's starting to become one of my favorite sports.
I got to see and discover new places. For quite some time now, I've been wanting to go to certain places. I had the means to it but there was always something holding me back; be it my schedule, conflicts with other activities, or some people. Because I was on my own, there was nothing to hold me back. I went wherever I wanted to go and I didn't have any regrets.
I got to meet new people. I got to hear their life stories, which made me realize that a lot of people have struggles far worse than my own and that I still have a lot to be thankful for. I got to hear their stories of suffering and survival, which made me admire them for their resilience. Their stories touched my heart. I also made new friends with the fellow travelers that I have met.
Speaking of people... I learned more about people, in general. That there are people who will use you and treat you differently once they know that they can no longer get anything from you. Those are the people we need to stay away from. That there are people who change for the worst. Those are the people who are in dire need of help. We can only try and do so much but if all else fails, then it is best to let them go. That there are people whom, regardless of the short amount of time you've known them, can make you feel at ease. Those are the people who could potentially be a bigger part of our lives. That there are people who will choose to hear your side before giving you any judgment and accept you for who you are. Those are simply good people that we should never let go of. I learned that the people around us, while we may not be able to change them if we want to, still have the power to change, influence, and affect us. It is just up to us on how we will react.
I got to make new memories. About half of the places I visited during my trip were places that I have been to before with some people in my past. There were not-so-good memories in there and I am glad that I returned to those places because I got to replace those memories with far far better ones. Now, these places are on my list of favorites.
I learned so many things during those ten days. But the most important takeaway that I got from this experience is that I learned that I can only go so far as I let myself. I learned that how far I can go is entirely up to me, and that the limits and boundaries that I have are only the ones that I have set for myself.
They say that traveling enables us to learn and discover more about the world and the people around us. But more than that, traveling enables us to learn and discover more about ourselves.