This was something I have written in January 2017, before I moved to Sydney. I never got the chance to publish it here, so I’m doing it now.
Do not just explore. Start traveling with a purpose. Traveling has been on mainstream since social media emerged and everyone seems to be travel-thirsty. For some, to travel means to unwind from an 8-hr office job while sipping on a glass of fruit shake at a luxurious resort. For others, it’s climbing mountains and taking long treks to soul search. For adrenaline junkies, it may be deep-sea diving, exploring caves in some island to go spelunking, or jumping on a cliff almost 20 ft. high. We all have our travel goals other than simply updating our Instagram feeds. I started my travels in 2005, tagging along side my Mom’s business trips domestic and abroad. I was a high school student then. Those were the days when I did not care about how many dollars I would be spending on food and leisure. All I wanted was to explore and take tours. Until one day, I started traveling on my own. I found myself taking bus rides with my friends to nearby provinces. Then later on, I started booking flight tickets and creating my own itineraries. Traveling made me realize something and I kept asking myself. Why do I travel? What do I want to see? What do I want to do?
If you are someone who knows me well, you would definitely know the answer to my questions. BEACH. OCEAN. SEASHORES. I am an ocean-lover and a self-proclaimed mermaid. At first, I thought I just wanted the mere sight of the blue waters stretching side to side while my feet touch the fine sands. I thought it was just my love for salty air and the smell of fresh seafood grilling by the sea-side. I thought I was just a fan of tan-lines but, I started caring. I feel terrible when I see plastics on sea beds and I started to think about the animals living in the waters. I started to read about ocean conservation, and I want to make more people aware about ocean pollution and how it greatly affects our lives. I want to raise awareness about responsible tourism and its direct impact on marine life. As I traveled from island to island, I realized one thing. I love the sea so much. I want to care for it so bad. This was when I told myself, I found my purpose in traveling. I travel not just to explore and see the world. I travel to support an advocacy.
I started building FOTOS (Friends of the Ocean Society), a non-profit organization that aims to provide individuals a better knowledge on ocean and water conservation. Through every knowledge imparted to those who can potentially help, each of us can reach out to families in remote areas of the world to get access to clean drinking water. Also, through this, we would all be able to help marine scientists from all over the world to innovate solutions for global Marine Conservation. Through FOTOS, I would like to build bridges of information in schools, localities, and units of the society where social media and the web are inaccessible. I started all this with just my passion for the ocean and an ambition for change.
So dear wanderers, do not let traveling limit you with just exploring and taking strolls. I hope one day, we travel with a different perspective. Travel not just to see the sights. Travel with a purpose. I love the sea so much and I am sure a lot of you share that same love. With simple gestures such as picking up trash from the shores when you see one could be a really big help especially in the islands of the Philippines. Filipinos tend to be all excited when it comes to Tourism, that we sometimes forget how to properly care for the waters. If you love the beach so much, try to support an advocacy like ocean conservation or engage yourself in beneficial expeditions about water pollution. We can be the voice of the marine creatures suffering from water pollution, as well as those facing the dangers of extinction. If you love the mountains, take a hike to support environmental sustainability. If you love running and joining city marathons, start running for a cause. We can all make a difference by supporting an advocacy when we travel. We can all start by building campaigns for our chosen charity. Be brave in pursuing an advocacy. It’s OK to start small. It’s OK to take baby steps because everybody has to start somewhere. I have always believed in Lao Tzu’s cliche, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step.” If you have the guts, the time, and the funds to travel, let’s make it count. Trust me on this, while traveling itself teaches you a lot of life lessons, traveling with a purpose will help you know yourself deeper. You will see the world in a broader point of view.
As of the moment, I know I am on the right path. I do not just travel to see the world. I travel to be the voice of the thousands of beings living in the waters and by the waters.
I am writing this to you with just a few days left in Manila to start a new journey in Australia. I want to bring FOTOS there and take it to the surfaces and coasts down under. Someday, one day, maybe… in God’s perfect timing, hopefully I get to support an advocacy for the Great Barrier Reef. So dear wanderers, I hope that one day you find your advocacy while you travel and if you find it, let it be your purpose.
(who is transiting in Seoul for the next few days and flying to Sydney for a long-term stay)
Find your voice in the world. Tell us about your advocacy. Always remember, the world listens. If you would like to know more about FOTOS and my Ocean Conservation and Responsible Tourism Advocacy, please click the link. (http://wordpress-203853-1319244.cloudwaysapps.com/join-my-advocacy/)