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How travel changed my life, it can change yours too!

By Kach Umandap June 30th, 2022 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 14 Comments

We all have our reasons for travel and often we don’t know what those reasons are until much later. Traveling benefits us in many ways and to fully appreciate and absorb the changes we go through, we need to take time to relax, reflect, and appreciate the people we have become.

I was a very different person when I first set out traveling. Sure, I had realized that I needed a break from the corporate world, but I had no idea how much, or how the decision would change me for the rest of my life! This is my most personal article so far; my realization after traveling non-stop since 2013 – from solo backpacking to falling in love with another backpacker.

1. I’m more confident with myself

Before traveling, I was always worried about what other people thought of me. How I looked and dressed was important to me, wondering if I was good-looking enough to socialize and be one of the people I used to hang out with. I was always worried about gaining weight, and getting darker (in my country, if you’re dark they say you’re ugly!). I always had to look “presentable” to impress people and I thought I NEEDED it for people to accept and like me.

Now, I’m more confident with my color, my weight, and how I dress like a hippie compared to my “branded” life before. It doesn’t matter now, I’m confident with myself and I only attract people who like me for who I am.

2. I’ve learned how to truly love and be loved

Okay, I’ve been in relationships before. I even almost got married as I thought that was what love was about. My life was full of insecurities and therefore jealousies and arguments. I decided to leave everything behind and love myself… Do you know what happened during my solo travels? I realized my dream at the perfect time that I think I was ready to fall in love again, with Jon. I’ve learned how to truly love someone! When you’re with the right person, you feel secure and confident and you know someone is there to unpack your baggage in life.

3. I’m no longer in a competition trap

I used to compete a lot even when I was still a kid up to working my way up in the corporate world. I always wanted to impress people with how smart I was, and how I could handle any tasks in front of me. I needed people to always notice that I was the best in my field… but now, why should I feel like I need to compete? I only need to impress myself. My life is already complete, I just have to make sure that whatever I do will be positive and make me a better person.

4. I’ve learned to be humble

Yes, even I learned that! I used to think that all of those achievements I strived for since I was a kid to reaching my position and lifestyle in the Middle East were way more impressive than other people. I was a 24-year-old Filipina with a progressing career and had all of the material things I could buy. But when I started traveling, I was no one. What I had achieved was nothing and I loved it, like a new kind of freedom! I have a lot of things to learn in life and that will only come with more experience.

During our travels, I even learned how to clean hostel toilets in exchange for a bed – this was a big deal for me! We slept outside in a tent during freezing winter nights just to keep our volunteering job. Jon and I even lived on 50 cents/day – sharing a small bag of vegetables and some boiled rice for our lunch and dinner! Travelling just makes me realize that the more I know about life, the more I know nothing, which makes every day more exciting.

5. I’ve learned how to truly appreciate things.

In the past, I put a high value on expensive things, all of which I gladly paid for on my credit card. The fact that credit cards were seen as a sign of success makes me cry with laughter now! I thought happiness was brand new clothes, high-tech gadgets, a weekend trip to Dubai, or an expensive night out in a posh restaurant. Anything that would make me look good to other people.

Now, it’s nothing like that! Our life is simpler, we only have less than 50 kgs of belongings between two of us. I know all of my things (I even have names for most of them), and I appreciate the clothes that I own. I’m thankful if I buy any new clothes at all (every 3 or 6 months!). Now we hardly ever buy anything on impulse, taking time to consider how much we need to buy new things, so if we do buy it, then I feel really happy and I appreciate it so much more.

6. I’ve learned a lot of new skills

Before I thought that the only skills I needed to improve were Microsoft Office and networking since I had to deal with a lot of corporate connections and create loads of maps, Excel sheets, and Powerpoint presentations.

Well, I can now proudly say that I know how to fix beds in a hotel-style, how cook breakfast for a lot of guests, use a cashier machine, and how to work in a bar!

Aside from the skills that I’ve learned volunteering in South East Asia and South America, Jon and I have invested in certifications to start earning consistent money to fund our lifestyle. We are now certified yoga teachers, Ayurveda Massage therapists, and English teachers. Now, with the new skills and certifications that we have, we can work wherever we want! Where I’m from, Massage Therapist is not a very desirable title, however, I like it because I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people.

What I’ve learned most of all is how to be happy and satisfied with what I have and to realize that I already have everything I was dreaming of a long time ago. Anything else is extra (and extra to carry!)

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14 thoughts on “How travel changed my life, it can change yours too!

  1. Hi Ms. Kach,

    I’m 24 and I can relate to what you wrote here. I’m slowly realizing that I don’t need to waste my earnings on things to impress others and think more about my personal fulfillment.

    Sadly, I can’t quit the corporate life yet until I help finish paying out my family’s debts so dropping everything and living the life of a wanderer isn’t practical at the moment.

    I hope I get to read more of your musings. I just chanced on this article and I’m glad I did. It tells me that what I am feeling about not spending on luxuries isn’t me just being “kuripot” but just being wise.

    Best regards to you 🙂

    1. This isn’t just about my spendings. I’m tired of the corporate rat race and looking into something completely different from my profession. I have my brother to teach me designing but I’m still afraid of what others will say about me throwing away 5 years of university and license education to be an interior designer.

  2. Great post!
    I’d say travel taught me about self-sufficiency! I’ve had to do things on my own that I never thought I’d be able to do. I’m braver than I thought, and it’s inspired me to try all kinds of different things and travel to different places.
    Keep going, you guys are doing great!

  3. Every time I read about you and your lives (you and Jonathan) I am amazed, and feel happy for you, for finding happiness. To break away from the corporate controlled lifestyle was truely a great thing for you to do. and BE YOURSELVES. I know I could never have done what you have done. I was a maths teacher for 21+ years in secondary schools in UK, then a educational booksalesman for my last 15 years of working life. That was when I went on my round the world travel after I had retired and went to meet over 30 previously unknown Internet friends in 8 countries on a 4 month journey. To be with a person you love and being doing what you are doing in so many places in different parts of the world is so great. I do hope one day to read all about it in YOUR book. It is not my life style, but I love what you are doing. (I am too old to change that much! Though I did change a lot when i went on my travels. I have made many real new friends all over the world. and have many people who call me Papa and grandpa, in countries I would never believe I could have friends. Makes me feel I have sons & daughters all over the world. (Including many in Philippines! 🙂 )
    You two are STARS. 🙂

  4. You were right about being confident about yourself. When my family and I embarked on a 15 day trip with a very tight budget to boot, I learned that no one really cares whether you have eyebags from lack of sleep or fatigued from an all day exploring. What matters is your outlook in your adventures and it shows a great deal of glow in your physical appearance as well.

  5. Hi Kach. I’m a 23-year old Filipina working as an engineer in Malaysia. My contract will expire on 2016. I am planning to take a break from the corporate world and travel to South America. I am very inspired by your blog! If I fly to Peru from Manila, will I be needing a return ticket to show? I just want to experience some volunteer stuff. I don’t know how long will I want to stay in SA but I am planning to cross boarders as well. But do I need to show a return ticket before traveling to SA from Manila????

    1. Hello Bea,

      How are you? If you will be leaving PHL to go to South America then yes the immigration there will require you a return ticket however in Peru- they will not ask you for it! =)

      I’m writing an article about flying from Philippines to South America!

  6. I used to be such a hoarder! Like boxes and boxes of stuff. Now I live with only 9 kgs of stuff and love it.

    Travel changes you whether you like it or not.

  7. yeah traveling makes my life different I’m more confident as a person, once a British friend of mine told me that once you start traveling and see the different side of the world you’ll never stop dreaming!

  8. I agree with everything you wrote. I’m more confident with myself too.. For example before I started travelling I couldn’t leave home without make up. Now I rarely do make up 😀 And I learnt how to appreciate things as well.

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.