The Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received About Travel

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By Emily Yerman

“It is too expensive!”

Yes, I hear that all the time. If I were to have a dollar every time a person tells it to my face, I would have been rich by now.

I have been travelling for quite some time now, both internationally and locally. Going as far as Europe, North America and Asia, I have proven that the single worst travel advice I have received is to save up rather than travel, because travelling is supposedly expensive. “Save up for rainy days, invest in real estate and stocks, you can travel when you are rich.”

This is so wrong in many levels. For life is not black and white. There is no completely choosing one option and foregoing the other. Trust me, you can travel and save at the same time. It is just a matter of balance.

Though travelling may cost you a chunk in your savings, the experience it gives you in return is not quantifiable in money. Cliché as it may seem, travelling changes you. It allows you to expand your boundaries, set new limitations, and appreciate what you have in the moment. You get to see the world outside of your comfort zone, experience how the other side lives, be exposed to new cultures and practices, all these experiences for the price of, say, a month’s pay check.

I once saved up for a trip to south of the Philippines to swim with the famous whale sharks or what the locals call “butanding” – the largest fish in the planet. The travel was quite long – via plane, bus and boat just to get to the sharks. But you know what? I got more than what I paid for. Swimming in the ocean, surrounded by five gigantic sharks totally changed my perspective. It made me realize how big and vast the world is, how vulnerable human life is, how majestic the underwater world is and a lot more. Seeing these sharks, being in their territory with only a breathing apparatus on me for survival, made me a person of depth and character. That travel adventure experience taught me more than what I could ever learn in books. The money I spent may be worth a month’s pay check, but the lessons I learned are simply priceless.

Imagine it on the other side this time. Say, you have chosen, month by month to save your money for something material – a car, a house, or the latest mobile phone model. In terms of physical and earthly aspect, you are well invested. You have the things that the society dictates you to have at a certain age – a car by 25, a house by 30. But is that it? Is that how you would want to live the rest of your numbered years? Would you rather succumb to the shallow expectations of the society, achieving a never-ending checklist of must haves? Will you be satisfied living inside a box, only having a glimpse and not experiencing the vast world we live in?

Not travelling, because it is supposedly “expensive” is the greatest mistake you can ever make. Never let monetary restrictions stop you from living the life you wished for. Because at the end of your years, you will only regret the chances you didn’t take.


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