To My 27-Year-Old Self, This Is How Travel Changed Your Life

To My 27-Year-Old Self, This Is How Travel Changed Your Life

Dear Sheena,

Do you remember the time when you feel your life has nowhere to go, then you started dreaming of traveling the world? It wasn’t part of the original plan. Before that, all you wanted was to discover what you want and love to do, work on something that you’re passionate about, become financially stable, build your dream house, and drive your dream car.

Do you recall your life before you starting dreaming of traveling the world? At the age of 16, you entered the dirtiest game of all time, politics. You take for granted your studies. It was a playful and full of fun ride, yet a rough one. You hit the ground when you lose the first man of your life. But you become stronger and more independent. You learned to stand on your own, yet, life has other plans for you, a rough and dangerous path, where you learned your lessons the hard way.

After college, reality sinks in. It was a hard ride, but you adapt well, and you just go on with the flow. You make mistakes here and there. But at the end of the day, you learned from it, you stand-up and moved forward. You wanted more. But it was not easy. You have a big dream, but you do not know where and how to start.

Do you remember your six months adventure in Cebu? It was not planned, you just booked a ferry ticket the night before your scheduled trip to Cebu from Manila. You worked in the customer service even though you do not speak their local language. Good thing, you can understand a bit. It was an amazing six months. You meet people who taught you to be strong and to dream more. You meet people who supported you and treat like you are there own family. Traveling taught you that in this crazy world, you’ll meet people that will always keep you sane and grounded.

Do you remember your first solo trip in Bantayan Island, Cebu? Your wonderful journey began on that beautiful island. Traveling has taught you that it’s the small things that tend to add up in a big way. You started a small dream. You only wanted to see the other side of Cebu, but look at you now. You’re writing this from Bangkok, Thailand.

Do you remember your first trip abroad? How about your first encounter with the passport control? The nervousness you had while answering all those questions before you got that first stamp on your passport. Traveling taught you to believe in yourself and be more confident. Until today, you’re still nervous going through the immigration control, thankfully, you never had any problems, and you enter or exit any country smoothly.

May 2016 was one of the most memorable moments of your life. You braved the immigration control and went to Hong Kong alone with a little budget and no passport stamp history. That’s where your desire to travel the world grows fonder. Since then, you became more curious about living in a new place you’ve never been to, adapting to a new culture, interacting with people whom language is you do not speak, meeting new people from different walks of life and races. Traveling has taught you to adapt to changes easily and to be more curious.

READ: 7 Reasons Why You Should Travel Solo At Least Once in Your Life

The big changed and decision in your life happened last year, April 2017, when you decided to travel the world, full-time. Slowly, you unload all your baggage and leave everything behind. Looking back, do you know how I’m proud of you for leaving all your baggage and choosing yourself first? Traveling has taught you to love yourself first, then, loving others will follow.

Living in Vietnam for three months was one of the highlights of your 2017. Although at first, you had difficulties interacting with locals due to the language barrier, as time flies, you got used to it and learned your way so you can somehow interact with them. You lived in Hanoi most of those three months, you braved the chaos of the city. Traveling has taught you that danger could happen anywhere, even in the community where you live, but it should not stop you from exploring places. Even though you had a lot of near death experiences in Hanoi because of motorbike chaos, you still wanted to go and live there. (HINT: I’m going back to Vietnam on January 13, 2018, with three months tourist visa. And I’ll spend my two months in Hanoi, AGAIN.)

Traveling taught you to break stereotypes. Do you remember telling yourself in your younger days that you wouldn’t and would NEVER have a tattoo in your lifetime? You thought differently about people with tattoos, because of society’s stereotyping. Traveling has taught you to break stereotypes. A tattoo (may it be big or small) doesn’t make or break a person. You can have a tattoo and still be a good citizen, or a great leader because it doesn’t make anyone, less of a person. By the way, you have a tattoo now, on your right wrist. A tattoo that signifies your freedom, self-love, and your love to travel.

Traveling has taught you to restore your faith in humanity. When you arrived in Bangkok, instead of booking Grab from Mo Chit, you choose to take the public transportation to your hostel. You take the train to Phaya Thai, and when you arrived, you tried to walk the direction Google Maps recommended you to go to your hostel, but turns out, it was a dead end. So you take the train, again. While waiting for the train you already feel dizzy, and when the train arrived, instead of resting first, you rode the train. A few minutes later, it really hit you hard, good thing you’re handling the safety handrail. You never asked for help because you already don’t have the strength to ask. But that Thai girl in your front became sensitive to your situation, she helped you and even brought you to your hostel. Traveling has taught you to restore your faith in humanity and that there’s always good in people.

Traveling has taught you to follow your heart and what makes you happy. There are probably thousands of people around the world dreaming of having freedom from working in the corporate world or 9 to 5 job. You were one of them. You were not brave enough to take the risk of working online or being a freelancer. But you did it!

You just got a job and been with the company for only a month. But when you received an offer for a full-time job online, you grab it without a second thought. You leave your 9 to 5 job without a second thought. Quitting your 9 to 5 job was one of the best decision you’ve ever made. You learn to work harder and not depend on anyone to live. You learned to be more creative and learn new things on your own. You earn enough doing freelance work to support yourself continuously. You’ve been traveling around Southeast Asia for six months now at your own pace, enjoying the freedom that you only dreamed of having. Your life has taken a 180-degree turn. Traveling has taught you to ignite your passion.

Just a few days ago, you turned 27 while you’re in Ayutthaya (Thailand). You remember the time that you started dreaming of traveling the world. It’s no longer a dream, it’s now a reality. If other people think that traveling is just about having a break or a short vacation or holiday, it means different to you. Traveling helps you become the better version of yourself. Traveling helps you to be more you.

Look at you now. You are no longer the Sheena who was afraid to speak and share her thoughts. You’re no longer the Sheena who was okay to be locked up in her room. Look at how far you’ve come. I’m glad you did all of these.

Your future self, thanks you.

With love,
Sheena 2.0



To My 27-Year-Old Self, This Is How Travel Changed Your Life



How about you? How did travel change your life? Share your thoughts or experience in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it!


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  1. Wow! The opening paragraph is 100% me though I still dream of travelling the world. It becomes real sometimes but the safe vacationing never satiates the deep longing to appreciate the vastness of this wonderful planet and reaching out to the raw vulnerability of the self. Your post makes me feel that you are a gentle heart who has braved difficult times in her life. More power to Sheena 2.0 . Good luck exploring your wonder :)

    1. Thank you!


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