How Travel Changed My Life

This is my winning entry for Traveloka's 'How Travel Changed My Life' Contest. :)

Whether it be good or bad, travel does change a person’s life. As for me, it changed my whole outlook towards everything. Some of them, I didn’t even notice was already unfolding in my very own eyes.

El Nido, Palawan

I happened to love the idea of traveling at a young age because of my mother. At a young age, she left the comforts of her home in the highlands of Camarines Sur. She has traveled several provinces in the Philippines, before she decided to settle here in Cebu and marry my father.

When I asked her if she ever regretted anything, she just said,”No, because travel changed my life for the better.”

It got me thinking how travel also changed my life. Here are five things I can say how it changed mine.

I Learned How To Be Mindful of My Spending Habits

The first few years of my travel journey were so expensive. I remember how improvident I was when I went to Baguio, Puerto Princesa, and El Nido in 2013. I would spend a lot of money in one place alone, without thinking about the consequences.

El Nido, Palawan

After several trips around the Philippines, and meeting different travelers, I have now learned how to spend my money wisely. And it didn’t just end in my travels. I have also made it a habit to spend wisely in everything that I do, even when I am only at home.

The Ruins” Talisay City, Negros Occidental | This is where I became fascinated of budget traveling. I went backpacking with my best friend around Bacolod and nearby city for three days and only spent 3,500 pesos!

I Lost My Fear of Being Alone

Osmena Peak | Mantalongon, Dalaguete, Cebu

I have to admit; being alone used to be one of my greatest fears in life. Which is somehow ironic because I am an introvert, and I enjoy spending time alone with myself. But traveling alone is different, especially when you are in a foreign place. Yet over the years of traveling, whether I go solo or not, I learned how to face this fear. I have now forgotten what it is to be bored, because even when traveling solo, you will never be alone. There will always be new people to meet, new places to visit, and new food to eat. Being in this world itself, constantly existing with the cosmos, is enough proof that man will never be alone.

I Became Confident in Interacting With People From Different Walks of Life

I used to have this social awkwardness towards meeting new people. I guess it is just the introvert in me. I would hesitate to introduce myself first, because I used to be very withdrawn and aloof. But years traveling kind of forced me to change this attitude. Traveling to places and meeting new people helped me a lot how to interact with people, whether they be old or not. Right now, I can confidently say that I have gotten over my persistent social detachment from others.

My best friend and I met this 80-year old grandpa who became our guide while trekking the majestic Seven Waterfalls of Mambukal. We were in awe of his strength and endurance!

I was given the opportunity to interact with some of the members of the Ati tribe while my blogger friends and I went river cruising at Loboc River in Bohol.

I befriended some local kids when I went biking around Olango Island, Cebu.

My friends and I went backpacking from Central Luzon to Calabarzon for 6 days. We were lucky to meet Ate Precy who became our all-around guide in Zambales.

I Became Open-Minded About Different Religion

St. Gregory the Great Parish Church | Ginatilan, Cebu

Here is an embarrassing admission; I used to be afraid of interacting with people who doesn’t share the same belief as I. I know, I am ashamed to admit that. I am a non-conformist believing in Universalism, but before I became that, I used to be a girl whose life revolved around a particular belief. Meeting people from my travels kind of shaped me who I am today. I am thankful for that change because now, I no longer judge people based on their religion.

It Helped Me Deal With Depression

Early 2015 to late 2016 was probably the darkest moment in my life. It was at this point that I almost lost hope of existing in this world. It was so terrible that it affected my whole demeanor, eating habits, sleeping pattern, relationships with family and friends, and my passion for anything. Because of that, I went on a four-month hiatus from blogging. I stopped doing all the things that I used to love. But one thing I didn’t stop doing was traveling. It was difficult sometimes because experiencing unfavorable circumstances on the road would heighten my anxiety. Yet that experience kind of toughen me up and helped me deal with my depression. I am happy to say that I have become a better person because of that.

Ponong Lake | Samboan, Cebu

Travel changed me and shaped me to have an extraordinary outlook in life. You know, life is never going to get any easier. Just when you think you have already figured it out, you will suddenly be surprised that you have far more things to go through. But one thing is for sure; traveling will always change me for the better.

#TravelokaPH #WhyITravel #TravelokaStories

This is my official entry for Traveloka's 'How Travel Changed My Life' Contest.
  • Hello Batong,
    Of all the five things that have changed your life, the fifth one has moved me. I didn’t know that you have suffered from depression. Anyway, your story has inspired me to follow my passion to travel even more. This is genuinely worth the read. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • hannafrej

      Thanks for your kind words, Lai. I was very uncomfortable about telling people about it before, but now I am slowly recovering from all of it. Thanks to the pastors, friends, and counselors who helped me. 🙂

  • Emelie Anggoy (of Emelie Empir

    Maybe one of the reasons why I am not a total fan of travelling places (as of the moment) is because of my childhood experience. I used to walk daily, morning and afternoon, with my 2 little feet going to school and then coming back home. My parents lived in the bukid and although they wanted me to stay at my grandma’s during the weekdays and just came home on the weekend, I didn’t follow them. I wanted to go home in the bukid each day even if it means walking alone in the midst of trees, grasses and ricefields because I wanted my mama to sing lullaby to me during bedtime ’cause I had sort of insomia wayback. Since then, I hated the idea of travelling or anything that includes heavy walking because it’s very tiring. But now, with all the writeups I read about travelling, I guess there’s a little voice telling me to probably start doing it and go to places as well as explore hidden secrets that comes along with it. Thanks Han for inspiring me!

    • hannafrej

      It’s never too late to try. Start exploring places hinay-hinay lang gud. 🙂

  • Depression is probably one of the worst feelings. I don’t think I’ve been through it but someone very close to me has. It just takes life away from you even if you’re still alive. Dang. I’m glad you were able to overcome that through traveling! It’s also good that you became open-minded about religion because the way I see it is that, this world has shocking truths.

    PS: Been meaning to write my article for this but I don’t know how to start. Haha

    • hannafrej

      Yes. It makes me uncomfortable talking about this sometimes because it was really horrible. 🙁 I don’t think it was just traveling alone, but it kinda helped. 🙂


    I won’t comment on depression anymore because I always to make people “undepressed” hahaha.

    So, you do not have fear of being alone ha? Mao diay ha (how travel sabotaged love life wink wink). At least you realized that you’ll never walk alone. So, walk on hahahaha.

    Happy blogging and i hope that many will be inspired to travel by you.

  • Always an honor to read your posts, Han, because it’s consistently full of wonder and inspiration. Im just glad that you’re able to find a way to win over your past troubles and transform into this much stronger and better individual that you are now.

    • hannafrej

      Awwe. Thank you, Suhtz.

  • After travelling for more than a year I definitely agree with your being more mindful of spending habits! What are some of your best tips? Do you keep track of every dollar? (:

    • hannafrej

      Yes, I do keep track of every single thing that I spend in every place ahaha! Other than actually getting serious at saving, I made sure to cut unnecessary expenses so I can have more funds for travel. 🙂

  • Love C and D

    It’s great to read how big of an impact travel has had on your life. It’s definitely something that brings people together and helps you to appreciate other cultures, other beliefs and an unfamiliar way of life. An inspirational post, thanks for sharing and happy travels.

  • Audrey Stratemeyer

    That’s awesome you are able to travel solo confidently! I want to be able to do that, but I’m not quite there yet because I am so directly challenged and get lost so easily! But your pictures are great! It’s also awesome that you were able to find a healthy way to help your depression!

  • Mea Wong

    Ahh, wish I could travel solo soon, too! Traveling helped me to be open-minded, too. The world is full of so much possibilities. Hope to travel with you soon 🙂

  • marvi ocampo

    It was nice learning how traveling made you a better person. 🙂 I for one was scared of heights, of the sea and exploring new places. But for a time, traveling had made ME braver! 🙂

  • Thank you for being so candid about the challenges that life — even for the “careless” traveler — holds! I’m sure it wasn’t easy opening up about your depression so publicly.
    I can only agree: Traveling can make you a more rounded, wiser, and eventually happier person.

    So: Continued happy travels!

    • hannafrej

      Thank you, Carola! 🙂

  • Karen Palamittam

    Thank you for sharing this.I too am an introvert by nature and travel has made me more confident in interacting with different people.Also glad it helped you get over depression 🙂

  • Susana Lino

    Congratulations for sharing that, it’s very important read this kind of articles, because traveling isn’t only good things, but at the end could make you much more stronger and open your mind to the world.

  • Benjoe Vidal

    Thanks for sharing this Ms. Bean 🙂 I agree with you! traveling will definitely help you deal with depression! I learned a lot from this post! Will share this to our page 🙂

    • hannafrej

      Thank you, Benjoe. 🙂

  • Traveling is your way of life, Han. No matter where you are, what’s important is that you won’t lose your self in your journey. Keep moving those itchy feet.

  • Kudos to all of the learnings you got from traveling. That’s why I promote traveling because it gives so many effects uniquely on each of ourselves. You had dealt a lot and traveling helped you to understand better what life and where life has to go. Happy to be your friend and maglaag nata puhon! Like hapit najud HAHAHA

    • hannafrej

      Yaaas hapit na jud. Gaaaahhhh

  • I hate it when people shrug off depression like it’s no big deal. People should deal with them properly instead of making fun of them.

  • Happy to read about all your learnings and at the same time it made me think on all the good things that travel/ing brought into my life. Cheers to more travel and inspiring others to travel. Hope to bump with you soon 🙂

    • hannafrej

      Hi @geezelletapangan:disqus, thanks for your kind words. Yes, hope we’d bump into each other soon. 🙂

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