Traveling is a very enjoyable and educational way of getting away for a while, especially if you are a live alone senior.
As a widower with two children married and living separately from me, traveling has become something I always look forward to.
The Philippines is an archipelago consisting of more than 7,000 islands, giving me a very wide array of choices to spend a quiet and peaceful weekend in.
For example, two years ago, I had a refreshing sojourn in Camiquin Island, a small island off the coast of northern Mindanao – one of the major islands comprising the country.
The island is also called The Island of Fire because of its seven active volcanoes (all can erupt anytime, that a seismic station is permanently situated at the foot of the most active, Mt. Hibok-hibok).
I stayed in a small resort by the beach and walked the shore early morning and watched the natives cast their boats to sea to fish.
Later in the day, I toured half of the island and filled my senses with its bucolic natural beauty created by the countless eruptions of its volcanoes through the years.
A year after, I and family had a day tour to Sumilon Island, one of the islands in world-famous Cebu, in central Philippines
Sumilon Island is a favorite tourist destination, both foreign and local, because of its unique location – far from the maddening crowd, yet not that far to get back to the city within a day.
It has several beautiful and fully furnished cottages for long stays. It even has tents for people who prefer to stay outdoors.
The main attraction of the island, aside from a lagoon where one can go canoeing and other water sports, is the lunch buffet on a sandbar, which serves mouth-watering local and foreign dishes.
Towards December of the same year, I and a close male friend spent an evening in a quiet beach resort in Argao, a history-rich small town 50 kms south of Cebu City.
It is always mystifying to spend an evening in a rural village with a close friend who can drink as much beer without getting drunk.
Last September, my family (two children and their spouses) took me to Panglao, Bohol, a world-renown tourist destination in central Philippines.
We stayed in a family room in Hennan Resort – a place that can make your dreams come true.
The staff is very courteous, the rooms are clean and spacious. They have an amazing occupancy rates on weekends, both foreign and local tourists.
Hennan Resort is unique in that it is ringed with swimming pools. You need not walk far for a swim. Some rooms even have their own pools.
But who needs a swimming pool when it has a very long stretch of sandy, white beach to romp in or dip in its cool and clean waters.
And yes, the food is truly superb – truly international cuisine.
Traveling, whether short or long, is simply amazing. It allows you to know different cultures, meet different people, and an excellent way to take a break from the humdrum of your daily life.
Other than that, here are more good reasons why you should hit the road every chance you got:
1. Provides a change in scenery:
Being cramped in your home day in and day out, year after year, can drive you crazy.
You can go out and spend an afternoon in the same coffee shop, walk the same mall, talk with the same people, and still miserable when you go home at the end of the day.
It’s like listening to a broken record, or eat the same food day after day. Very soon, melancholy can set in, and depression is not far behind.
Stuff your bag with your basic things and book a flight or a train for somewhere, anywhere.
A little sense of adventure is good for your health.
2. It is liberating:
Driving away or getting on a flight for somewhere far, far away, is liberating. It is like breaking free from your umbilical cord, for the second time.
The world is a lot larger place than the four walls of your room. It offers plenty of choices to go to, to explore, to learn, to enrich your mind and soul.
And that is very liberating.
3. It is educational:
Traveling is always education. You learn something new, i.e., people, culture, food, environment, etc. It expands your horizon and understanding of the world you live in.
Makes you realize that you are not the only one having the same concerns of family, children, career, health, relationships, and more.
For example, a casual walk along a museum will expose you to bygone eras, talking to a cab driver in some foreign city or a fisherman in a remote village can give you a glimpse of how other peoples live, their concerns, their hopes and ambitions in life.
You will learn what they eat, how they eat, their cultures and traditions, the way they dress, and probably their courtship rituals.
4. It expands your network:
Unless you want to shut yourself from the outside world, traveling definitely expands your social network.
The guy next to you in a bus, a train or a plane can become a close friend, a travel companion, a guide or a potential relationship.
Even if you trek the Himalayas, your guide can become a valuable asset in your network.
Traveling gives you the opportunity of meeting new people, making new friends.
5. It is a good exercise:
Traveling is every bit an excellent exercise.
From the moment you step out of your home dragging a heavy suitcase. or lugging a backpack is exercise. So is running after a cab, or lining for a bus, or a train carrying your heavy baggage is exercise.
Walking along long airport corridors, and stowing your luggage in overhead bins is.
Taking a stroll or jogging along the beach is exercise, so is doing a few laps in the swimming pool.
I went 400 meters up to follow the Station of the Cross carved along the side of an active volcano in Camiquin. That was one hell of an exercise.
6. Gives you moments of solitude:
Anneli Rufus, American author of Party of One: A Loner’s Manifesto, says being alone, “feels calming to me, and invigorating, and most of all normal. The rest of the world can get by without us.”
She says, solitude is “just what we need, the way tuna need the sea. Here we are, not sad, not lonely, having the time of our lives.”
Yes, we need to be alone, sometimes. To get away from the maddening crowd, and be immersed in serenity and loneliness. It is good for the body, soul, and mind.
I travel alone most of the time. My friends don’t understand it, but my children welcome it.
I do it because I want to find solitude, peace of mind, or find myself.
And this year is already fully booked for my lonesomeness travels.