Friday, April 2, 2010


I stumbled upon this rather unassuming series on television once on the National Geographic called Departures. The show is basically a travel documentary. It caught my attention as I was flicking through the tube because, well, as a general rule, I stop clicking whenever some form of travel show is on.

I have heard it once or twice before but I heard it again on Departures. Before doing the show, one of the hosts showed his most precious collection of plane tickets and passes, gathered through his extensive journeys around the globe and back. Then he said something about the travel bug. It was something that bit him as a kid. He was bitten hard. My reaction was visceral. I smiled.

I'm guessing I, too, was bitten.

All my life, I have lived in the same city, spoke the same language, ate the same food, saw the same sights. So when I was taken out miles and miles away from where I lived for the first time, it was an experience.

For the first time, when people talk to me, my ears hear words but the words don't register. For the first time, I ate rice but wrapped neatly in a banana leaf weave. For the first time, my eyes were seeing views larger than what I thought the world was before.

In one of the trips I was organizing for a group of friends, one contemplated the thought of everybody just staying in the city and going for a corporate-sponsored run. Instead of the out-of-town trip, we'll just go for a fun run in the city. While that is indeed a viable option for some, to me that is just unthinkable.

When I set my mind to going somewhere or doing something, I make damn sure they happen. No matter the costs, no matter the time. It's not like travel opportunities will stop coming. It's more like, hey, the opportunity is already here, what's holding me up?

I am not judging here. It's just that to me, actually being in a place far from my daily routine, actually experiencing the air there, the ground, the sky, is incomparable to next to nothing.

Experiencing something totally new and something out of the ordinary breaks you free. Somehow, you get to experience a higher form of freedom. And I have yet to imagine anything greater than that.

What does travel do to you? Why do you travel?

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