In South America, I learned that the best days of my life haven’t happened yet

When I started this blog in South America, the goal was not to boast about places I’ve been to nor give tips on how to ‘tour’ a certain country.

This blog used to be for my friends and family: to update them on what was going on with my life while I am a thousand miles away from home.

I wanted to write honest and raw thoughts without expecting that people will read it. But they did.

Today, I became a life doctor instead of being the travel blogger everyone asks for tips and tricks. Every day, reader e-mails would pile up and they are not asking about itineraries, cheap flights or where to go.

Most of them are going through a very rough time and thinks that travel will solve their problems. My inbox was filled with a series of dramatic messages about people’s lives that I am not allowed to discuss in public, of course.

I am happy that people look at me as someone they can go to when they are going through something tough. After all, it’s so easy to open up to a stranger, right?

The problem is, everyone is so worried about how their life will turn out. I cannot blame them but I am bothered with this way of thinking.

When a heart-breaking episode happened to me three years ago, I never thought, not even in my wildest dreams that I will ever recover. I never would have imagined myself being the person I am today.

I wasn’t fun, I lost my charm, I was a robot, I was boring as fck. But South America, the trip that changed my life took me to mountains and stars, the desert and the rain, the salsa and the beautiful Latinos who became a part of my whole being.

They taught me that I am not a robot — that I am human and I can feel again. I never believed that I will survive until I did.

South America gave me the things I never asked nor expected. I traveled the whole area by land, met some amazing people who are my friends up to now and had breath taking moments in the wonders of the world.

I seriously couldn’t asked for more. Then I went home: changed, recharged, a new person. Just when I thought I can endure every confusion that will come my way, being home was depressing.

I changed, but the people around me didn’t. I wanted to run away again because I felt there was no room for growth at home.

I wanted to go back to South America because I felt comfortable there. I often asked myself why did I ever leave? It is my home. It’s where I was truly happy. 

Why did I leave? 

Then something came: I had the chance to travel my country and it turned out well. Boracay parties left me dancing until 6am, I was able to attend my best girl friend’s wedding in Guimaras and tomorrow, I am on my way to Cebu.

Spontaneous adventures came: I toploaded on a jeepney in Iloilo, slept on the sand underneath the stars, danced like no one is watching.

These were memories that flowed underneath my skin. There were nights that I did not remember with the people I will never forget.

But what I realised was no matter how much I hated being idle back home, it’s so easy to find a way to make myself happy.

I thought I will be really bored here and that my South America experiences were incomparable but life exceeded my expectations. It simply astonished me with its timing.

Come to think of it, I was constantly showered with happiness and I wasn’t even asking for it. I thought South America was already too much but this? This is a lot.

They may not be material things but this is good enough for me. Sometimes, I think I don’t deserve to live a life like this but what I learned is to be always grateful.

I look up, say thank you all the time even if I don’t know who I am thanking. It’s just feels good to give thanks.

“We often want it so badly that we ruin it before it begins. Overthinking. Fantasizing. Imagining. Expecting. Worrying. Doubting. Just let it naturally evolve.”

Lost, crossroads, confused — these are some of the words that my patients (readers) always use when they e-mail me.

A 17-year old reader messaged me yesterday and said she is really confused with the path she will take. Oh wow, this is how 17 year olds think now?

When I was her age, I was having fun, getting drunk, making mistakes. I never even thought of making it through college.

Jesus, I was a teenager and I don’t think there’s anything else I needed to worry about but to be a child. To act my age.

I cannot say much to my “patients” because I don’t know them personally but what I always tell them is: The best days of your life haven’t happened yet.

There are a lot of sunsets we haven’t seen and good souls we will fall in love with, food you haven’t tasted, places that made your heart jump up and down at the same time.

A lot of you think I don’t have problems in life but I do, too. I also worry. I also doubt. I overthink. I fantasize. Today, I am writing this from my home in Subic Bay, Philippines and I have no idea what I am going to do next.

Whenever this happens, I direct my energy to now because I know I will never figure life out and that the Universe has always something for me. I need not ask.

I have programmed myself to accept that I don’t have control of things. I have trained my mind to be excited about not knowing what will happen next. I haven’t complained.

I don’t want to put the puzzles together. I don’t want to plan. My life pretty much turned out well because of this. Now life excites me!

Tomorrow is another day and I don’t need to think about it. Otherwise, I will just be wasting living “today.”

Always remember, we have not felt it all. The world has still so much to give us. The best days of our lives are about to happen.

We don’t even need to anticipate nor wait. Just chill the fck out. Nobody’s got life figured out.

What are your best life experiences, traveling or not? I would like to hear your story! Share it on the comment box below!

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  1. Such an inspiring post! We all believe that we just can’t survive a certain heartbreak or other awful situation we find ourselves in. You re right, people often think traveling would help them. I know I did, and to be honest, that trip did help, but so did coming back home and finding ways to find my happiness that came naturally 😀 So, similar experience I guess.

  2. I’ve never used travel as a means to escape or cope with something. I think because I wasn’t really searching for it, it is why travel has truly taught me to find myself. But I do agree and am a big believer that nobody knows what tomorrow may bring and what we will learn in the meantime.

  3. My most memorable life experiences have always been around meals. Food unites people. Whether they are from different cultures or religions or politics and you don’t share the same language, food will bring you together! I learned a long time ago that you have to live for today, that you have to make every day the best you can no matter where you are in the world.

  4. The best days are always ahead. I’ve had some amazing experience while traveling but also while staying at home. It’s great that your readers get to talk to you and share their experiences!

  5. That is great that so many people reach out to you in that manner. Also great that you have the opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with them.

  6. What an inspiring story! I have been to many places and I have also wondered why I had left those places just to “go back home”. However, now, I realize that being happy depends on me, not the location. I try to find adventure whenever I go, even if it’s only a few hours drive from my house 🙂 I can’t wait to read about your adventures in the Phillipines 🙂

  7. Similar to you in a way, but I moved to the Philippines to “escape” certain emotional dilemmas back home. It was definitely not an answer, but it did help the process a lot easier. But yes, being happy is a state of mind. It’s not the place that would change you, because you’d have to allow your perspective to do that for you. Cheers to more happiness on the road. May your adventure never end ?

  8. It’s always so personal and refreshing to read your posts, Trisha. I love thinking “your best days are still ahead.” But, what’s beautiful about what you wrote is how subtly and poignantly you showed how anyone can feel the gratitude you feel by just living in the moment and making intentional choices about life, whether they be travel related or not. It’s hard to list my best moments (so far!). Traveling solo in Patagonia, cross-country road trip at 19 with theater castmates, or even just yesterday when my 12-year-old dog had a 10-minute puppy spurt of energy and it made my day….so many moments to be grateful for.

  9. You are truly an evolved soul at such a young age. I followed the usual path and discovered true traveling only when I retired, 7 years ago!

  10. You know the saying ‘never meet your heroes’? South America offered you a refuge at a time when you were going through things, is that right? Being so, I suppose wherever you found yourself in at that time, it would have given you the same feeling.

    This is not a knock but I suspect when you do return to South America, that same feeling you had would have changed.

    You see, it’s not only the place. It’s you. How you feel, how you think, that makes a place ordinary or extraordinary.

  11. This is such an amazing life lesson in the end. I couldn’t agree more, the best of our lives we haven’t lived yet. Since this is my first time in your blog, I have also read your article about how you started traveling, and I have to say it was such an admirable leap of faith, and nothing to regret about it. The fact you kept traveling, for yourself only, even better! It does kind of remind of my own self a bit back then when I have decided to leave my home country and try to pursue my career in a different country (I know, it’s a different situation, but same principle applies). I had no certainty, yet I went ahead, and tried. And things went pretty well in the end (I am still here in the UK for some reason). More people should start living more, and thinking less. We do only have 1 life after all.

  12. Your post is really interesting and inspiring. I also agree with Robert, that if you left South America, you wouldn’t find the same feeling back again because you went there for a reason. But that you managed to rise up and get over what you’ve been through thanks to travelling is a great and rewarding experience. It’s also very kind and nice how strangers come to you asking for advices on a life subject rather than traveling tips

  13. Traveling is an opportunity for me to temporarily escape the life I used to hate. Now, traveling means time with loved ones and discovering their likes and everything about them which I wasnt able to do when at home because I always feel busy. Now, I make time for them because they are important.

  14. I like how you stand with your ‘niche’ for your blog. You let your words flow and that exactly why people read every post you have: so genuine.
    “Then I went home: changed, recharged, a new person. Just when I thought I can endure every confusion that will come my way, being home was depressing. I changed, but the people around me didn’t. I wanted to run away again because I felt there was no room for growth at home.” How this line can be so life-reflecting for me? Haha. I went home a week ago in the Philippines and I am missing the home I left abroad. I compare; that’s the reason. Now, I have no clear destinations too; just waiting what the Universe is about to offer.

  15. Such an inspiring post! Yes, we don’t have any control of what is going to happen to us. I used to overthink a lot before and that’s the same thing made me stop. Because whatever I think at the end of the day no one knows of what is going to happen.

  16. That’s great to hear about how traveling in South America changed you. I would like to know more about where in South America you have been. I’ve traveling in Brazil and Argentina and I loved both countries. I find travel to be a life-changing experience because you have to learn how to adapt and be flexible and relax.

  17. Another inspiring write up I read. I travelled in some places and I have always asked myself if I can try working there like others. But It always brings to the word“go back home”. However, I realize now that being happy depends on me, not the location I experienced, just go and enjoy adventures whenever you are? It was good to see you enjoying South America.

  18. Another inspiring story from an inspiring person. I could feel how you enjoy your trip to south america and I admire how brave you are foi doing this alone. Traveling on the other side of the globe. I wasnt surprise that people email you to share their stories about life because you are a person who is full of positivity and strength and those who needs someone to hold on can see hope from your words. Continue inspiring more people and goodluck on your future travel plans 🙂

  19. An inspiring post – good to be reminded of how much travel can change your perspective in life. It really is the best remedy no matter what your situation.

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