How Travel Changed My Life?

Although my first airplane ride happened when I was 24 in 2012 to Manila, it became a habit to fly out of the Philippines at least one country a year when I got my passport in 2013. Somehow, a painful and traumatic health threat forced me to travel more, and it happened in 2014.

There was something wrong with my body. My right breast to be exact so I went to see a doctor for a check-up and recommended to see a specialist. The breast surgeon told me to undergo biopsy as soon as possible – the breast lump removal. In my mind, I was too young for this, and I got paranoid when the surgeon told me it will lead to cancer if not removed right away.

I was in the middle of my surgery when the anesthesia lost its effect. That was when the female doctor was cutting a blood vein on my right breast. I cried that I was in pain and she told me that she injected enough anesthesia to me. The feeling was horrible, and I felt like I was going to die. The sense of dying sounds exaggerating but who wants to feel pain while under surgery? She injected another bottle of anesthesia to my breast area, and I got overdosed. For me, it was torture.

I wasn’t able to work for how many days, and the throbbing pain made me crazy and wasn’t able to sleep for crying. I’ve never been hospitalized before that. I promised myself that if this pain subsides, I will travel more for my recovery. You only live once so I should enjoy my life. I am thankful to the stranger who paid for my surgery.

Travel Made Me a Spontaneous Person

After few weeks from my surgery, I got a tempting invitation for a one-way ticket to Palawan. I grabbed the opportunity as I badly needed to recover somewhere. I had no idea how many days should I be there but several things happened in Palawan. A little romance was part of it with a traveler I just met there, but I told myself not to fall as it was temporary. I learned to go with the flow and not expecting anything as I was during my recovery period. I don’t want another heartbreak. Also, thanks to my friend for that one-way ticket.

Palawan

Travel Made Me to Value More of my Health

I have experienced several stressful events in my life. First, a six-year relationship ended in 2013. Second, the surgery happened in 2014. Third, the unexpected death of my father in 2015 while I was on my first ever five-country solo trip. I started working at home in 2009 and became the breadwinner in the family. Being an emotional person, I easily get distracted by negative feelings around me, and it affects my whole being – my health and sanity. I am thankful that my clients were understandable of my situations in the past as I am always honest if there is something wrong with me at the moment.

Travel Made Me an Adventurous Person

After my surgery, I was told not to carry heavy stuff for me to recover. I should never do any strenuous activities as I need to be careful. I bought a 32-liter backpack for that backpacking experience. What happened was I dared myself to do things I’ve never done before. From cliff jumping to scuba diving to crazy rollercoaster rides to surfing, and to possible crazy experiences I will try in the future.

Surfing – Siargao

I never associated myself with the word adventure as I was a home buddy and only do touristy stuff when I travel out of the country. Then I realized, I should do off-the-beaten-path adventures. Thanks to all my friends who always invite me to try something new. You awaken the spirit animal in me.

Scuba diving

Travel Made Me Independent

With all my solo trips, I experienced being stranded in Moalboal and Malapascua island for lack of money. I was left behind by a bus and an airplane when I was in Japan. Got an unexpected flight to Hong Kong just because Tokyo to Cebu flight was expensive. These travel mishaps lead me to rely on myself and of course, experimenting with real life strategies to survive. Others would say, if all those travel mishaps happened to them, for sure they would cry, but I was able to manage and laugh about it. Somehow, additional good stories to tell. I am thankful with the strangers who have helped me when I was stranded even though I wasn’t able to get their names and the others who became my friends and still keeping in touch with them. All I can say is, don’t be afraid to ask help from strangers.

Lost in Translation – Japan

Travel Made Me a Resilient Person

Problems are never ending as I still have a personal problem I am experiencing now, but I have no choice but to move away to save my health and sanity. I just need to break off the cycle of emotional stress, emotional abuse or threat of getting hurt which I’ve been experiencing from several years ago until a few months ago. I’ve experienced being anxious, having nightmares and sleepless nights; thus, I wasn’t able to work with my tasks as well. I am so sorry to my family, especially to my mom. It’s not your fault, but I hope you understand me. I have stated my reasons already.

If I’m a person who is easily carried away with my problems in life, for sure, it will lead me to suicide. But I chose to be strong. I am currently in Taipei to learn meditation while enjoying the spring season here with hiking and biking. Somehow, I am able to get a good sleep and currently working in a cafe to catch up some online work.

This is my entry to Traveloka blogging contest. Share yours now. #TravelokaPH, #WhyITravel, #TravelokaStories

Roxanne is an aspiring digital nomad. A virtual assistant since October 2009. She is a hobbyist blogger, photographer and travels a lot.

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