When I was 12, I thought I had life figured out. By the time I turn 21, I’ll be an architect. A masters degree in heritage conservation by 24 and an architectural firm of my own by 30. I’ll settle down by 35 and live in a fancy glass mansion by 40. When I retire at 65, I’ll have an empire… multiple companies under my name. I’ll leave a legacy. That’s what I want. But then, life took a re-route and brought me to somewhere I have never imagined. You see, I never saw myself climbing, hopping from one island to another, fighting for a spot on seat sales and doing some backpacking stints. It was not me. Or so I thought.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve told people how I ended up being a mountaineer but I guess there are tales you’ll never get tired of telling. It was org week in school and we were just checking out the booths. One that caught our attention was the mountaineering club because of their fancy photos. There was a joiner’s fee of 90 pesos and since I had no money with me and it’s not really my thing, I just passed by it. But my friend persuaded me to join her. She told me that she’ll pay for my fee and well, how could someone say no to free? We gave it a try and yeah, the rest was history.
I never wanted to be a travel blogger nor did I ever dream of becoming one. Out of all the niches out there, it was the last on my list or even not included there at all. I remember the first travel guide I wrote. It was super long and detailed but somehow, I felt relieved. It was like me telling my story to the entire universe that “hey, I climbed a mountain and got to travel at such a tight budget”. It was a breath of fresh air. It brought me back my burning desire for writing. I got inspired. It was such a long time since I last felt that rush of excitement while typing down those words to describe my trip. Unexpectedly, the universe responded. We then started having a conversation. I kept telling her my stories and she kept on listening, getting excited for my next adventures. In a span of just two months, my page likes grew from a mere 4,000 to a whooping 20,000 and now to more than 60,000. It opened doors for me. Whatever I have now, I owe it to traveling. After all, without it I won’t have any guides to write.
When I was 12, I thought I had life figured out. Now that I’m 22, my timeline has been changed. I may still be in school and got another year left but all the plans are still there… they just got delayed. I still want to push my masters degree, my firm, family and empire, and definitely squeeze some trips every now and then. Besides, traveling has become both my career and life now. After more than 30 climbs, 22 provinces and hundreds of destinations, I can’t be more than grateful with the kind of life I am living right now. And compared to who I was before, I am now ready for all the possibilities and re-routes life will take me. After all, that’s one important lesson I’ve learned from traveling. Sometimes, the best trips are the unplanned ones.