October 3, 2019

In about three weeks, I will be heading off to Latin America (South America)…starting off with Mexico. Now this area is an unknown place to someone like me, so I am extremely nervous!

Now I have travelled to four different continents, and more than 15 countries, but Latin America just seems too far. Originally, I come from Asia and from my home continent, Latin America is probably one of the furthest places I can ever go to. The thought of the distance bothers me, but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do…or that is what I keep on telling myself anyways.

Before booking my flight to Mexico, there had been a massive self intervention because, to put it simply, I was (still am) afraid. For the first time in a long time, I was afraid. A couple of months ago, I was still debating whether I should go back to Asia and just backpack around my home continent. The cost of living was cheap, I was accustomed to the place (obviously), and I love the food. It was perfect! This sounded like the more reasonably thing to do. I was already planning my route: back home to the Philippines, onto Cambodia, maybe even Nepal, then inevitably hit India. I was excited! This was perfect, and I was ecstatic.

But then I prayed to God, and I asked Him to send me a sign if I should pursue this plan.

My original plan was to head home to Asia, but I was already in North America, and flight prices to South America were ridiculously cheap! I was already in the northern hemisphere, do I dare leave without even trying? Now this did not seem like me at all! So I really thought about it, because this was no joke! Planning a trip to South America was no joke! I got really, really anxious and scared. Normally, I never am scared when going to a new destination. I would be excited, and giddy, and happy. But this was not the case, and that was a first.

Because, you see, whenever I would travel, I often get homesick. Flights from Europe to Asia were not expensive at all. For $300 USD, I can pop into the Philippines and enjoy a few weeks with my family. Flights from any Asian country to the Philippines would cost about $100 USD, and that was cheap! If I were travelling around Asia, it would be so easy to pop in and say ‘hello’ to my family. Flights from Africa to Asia were about a 50/50 chance but, more often than not, you could probably score a $500 USD flight into Europe then into Asia. All these flight options were great! Because if I got homesick, I could just book a flight and go home. But for South America, this will not be the case.

If I wanted to pop in and say ‘hello’ to my family, I need $1,000 USD to travel from South America to Asia. Expensive? Heck yeah. Probably because these points are so far from each other! For someone like me, South America is the unknown. I, honestly, have no idea what is out there! Mixed feelings are in my body right now: scared, anxious, excited, happy, and just expectant. I am really am expectant.

But you know what I realised? If I never go on this trip, I will forever be scared of the unknown. For me, South America will always be this place in the map that is going to be full of unknowns for me. Had I pursued with my plan to go backpacking around Asia, I never will discover new places, new people, new experiences, new food, and new cultures. Asia is my home, and my people, and my food, and my culture. I know it by heart. That is where it will always stay: in my heart.

You know what? Nothing ever grows in our comfort zones. We all have to be reminded this, every once in a while. I know, I certainly needed to be reminded that just now. South America will be a place of discoveries for me, and I am very excited to face these unknowns and finally just not be scared.

My love for this world knows no bound, that is for sure. As long as I have the means and the health to do so, I will keep on exploring our beautiful planet. The Lord has blessed us with this gift, and I refuse to sit around all day. The world is meant to be explored. For sure, the world is full of ‘unknowns’. But guess what? It does not have to stay that way. There are unlimited resources that are available to us, and these unknowns can be discovered. Well, that is what I am planning to do.

My trip to South America, starting in less than a month, will be my bravest trip yet. How so? Well because I know that I am scared, but I pushed through and went ahead anyway. There is no braver thing that pushing through when you are scared. At least, that is what I think.

So for all of you who are scared of doing something that you have been thinking about, maybe this is the sign you have been waiting for to just get out there and get it done! Life is too short to stay around and wait. Stop waiting, because there is nothing worse than sitting around instead of going after your dreams. Take it from me, I know. So go, get out there, and make your dreams come into reality. Do not be afraid of the unknowns. Instead, embrace them. You just might surprise yourself.

***My trip to Latin America is for a research that I am currently doing. I plan on writing stories on how women are treated in Latin America. I will also take photographs. Did you know there machismo is still a thing, and that femicides are prevalent in this part of the world? Let us all be fully aware and informed about these sensitive topics. You may follow along on this journey by becoming my patron via Patreon. To know more about my research, CLICK HERE.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Luke 9:24 NIV

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