This is a guest post from one of Road Tripper, Loreen Buenavista, from Random Road Trip #44 at Carabao Island. Loreen works as an accounting specialist at one of the well know Accounting Firms in the country.  She is an introvert. But she loves the outdoors. And if she is not busy at work, you’d probably see her reading a book at Coffee Project or surfing in Mati, Davao. A few things that interest her would be – music, books, philosophy, and coffee. 


How joining a Random Road Trip gave me the courage to embrace spontaneity, the unpredictable, and the unknown.- Loreen, 2018

I Want To Run Away
Have you ever experienced life disappointing you that you came to a point of wanting to run away far, leave everything behind, and pray never to return?

Or have you ever felt tired and fed up of routine, of waking up to days forcing yourself to face everyday battles of deadlines and responsibilities? Have you ever felt suffocated by the small space that you move about in your tiny apartment, or in your everyday commute in the cramped light rail or bus, and in the overwhelming crowd in this urban jungle we call the city?

Have you ever felt that every day is the same, and have you ever thought: if the meaning of life is to find your own purpose and destiny, then you would have dropped everything to go on a journey in search for the answer to this life‘s biggest question?

Yes, you miss the moment of bliss, of carefree days, where time runs slow and there is no worry in your mind, because by the sea, or in the mountains, there is only you and a journey. No deadlines, no boss to call you, no colleagues asking favors, no parents and relatives throwing you hard questions: “Kelan ka mag reresign? Bakit single ka pa? Ano’ng balak mo sa buhay mo? ” (When are you going to resign from your job? Why are you still single? What do you intend to do with your life?)


When You Secretly Feel Envious of People In Social Media

Yes, you wish you have answers to life’s toughest questions. But more often than not, you just couldn’t find the right answer.

And yes, you crave for a break in the routine, to experience something out of ordinary, and you may be secretly envious of people you see in social media living their lives how you want yours to be: these are people who can drop everything (school, work, and even family) to chase after what they want and travel the world. But it’s them, they have more freedom, have more resources, and are more courageous than you are … because while they may have the liberty to drop everything, you have people and things that hold you back.

Regardless of your situation, you may have felt the need to be spontaneous and run away on a trip elsewhere, for a break, for a breather, for a change. Because experience is what travel brings, a sojourn and a prelude to something grand that allows us to reflect, to move about and move on, to think things through and discover ourselves at a greater plane, learn about different cultures, and get to know the people whom we travel with. We crave for movement and adventure because as humans, we are not supposed to be stuck in one place, doing the same thing over and over again.


What Is My Story?

So let me tell you my story. Let me tell you how joining a Random Road Trip gave me the courage to let go of excuses and my limiting beliefs; to embrace spontaneity, the unpredictable, and the unknown.

I used to be someone who preferred familiar over new, routine over unpredictability and planned over spontaneity. Although sometimes I’d like to take breaks and travel, I was lazy and the type to give excuses not to: I must admit, I’d need an external motivation for the rare chances of grabbing my bag and passport to go elsewhere.

I liked to spend my weekends in the comfort of home and in the warmth of coffee over a meaningful conversation, rolling out of bed and wake up to a pair of eyes that I can say to myself, “I’m home”. This was the comfort, this was familiar, and I would not want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment, except home. It was a beautiful feeling: habitual, intimate and invigorating.

So what do you do when after all these comfortable moments that you have enjoyed so much, you suddenly lost home? When all of a sudden you find yourself alone, trying to find comfort in your own company, and yet craving for escape, to get lost in the wilderness in search for the unsearchable, and not knowing where exactly to go, except that the only thing your heart desires is to be home? And because you lost home, there is nowhere else to go, because what once was, will never be brought back together again?

My soul was in chaos, and in the process of searching for my identity back, I wanted to run, run far away without knowing where I would go. I have wanted to run away to a remote place and I wanted to be alone but at the same time, the thought of being alone scared me. To be alone was an unfamiliar concept to me because I have been so used to spending my days with that part of my life which I can no longer come back to.


I Was Broken And In Pain

It is true that you only know how strong you are until it is the only choice you have. I have come to learn that if I wish to continue to live beautifully and with hope, I shall not give up on myself and fall into a dark abyss of misery and despair. To be strong is the only choice there is, and as I pick up the pieces of me that have been scattered into the universe, as I was broken and in pain, wanting to run away from life, I chose to be that strong woman I just have to be. I was lost, but I have to find pieces of me to put back together again. I thank my friends and the few people I have chosen to confide with at that moment in my life when all I wanted to do was to escape. Because they helped me stay grounded, for the sake of my sanity and my soul.

You know that yearning of going someplace when you are at your worst in life? Yes, I am about to drop the clichéd question: where do broken hearts go?

The answer is obvious but quite more often, it is taken for granted: find solace in a place that is new.


Answer: To Find Solace In A Place That Is New

I was at the point in my life where a lot of things didn’t make sense, and I had to drag my body out of bed each day. I had to continuously tell myself, “just one more day”. Just one more day away from the past, and closer to the future. What future that was, I wasn’t so sure that I knew it either. All I knew was, that I had to force myself to continue living – yet I was not alive at all.

They say that travel is the best cure for the soul. They say the way to cure a broken heart is to be out in the world and go out on an adventure. Get lost and find yourself again. I had my doubts, I had my reservations, and I had so many excuses. But if I truly wanted to heal, I had to give myself that chance to heal.

I believe that the universe works its way to synchronicity, and places you at the right moment, around the right people, at the right time. Because on the day I deliberately committed myself to take the leap, to have no second thoughts and to take the plunge, an opportunity presented itself like a low hanging fruit.


Joining A Random Road Trip

A good friend told me she was going on a trip, and that I should also come with her. I first said no, but staying true to my recent conviction, I just took the leap, held back second thoughts, and took the plunge. She did all the work and signed me up for an experience I would forever cherish and be grateful for. At that time, I didn’t know what she was signing me up for.

It turned out she was signing me up with Experience Philippines’ Random Road Trip. It is a one of a kind travel experience where the destination and the itinerary are kept a secret from each guest not until they arrive at the destination.

It forced me out of my comfort zone and embrace spontaneity, the unpredictable and the unknown — I admit I prefer to know and make plans because I will have a sense of control, regardless if other people make the plans and decisions for me. However, with not an idea on how your trip goes, together with a bunch of strangers, is in itself a formula for anxiety and worry.

And yet I reminded myself, this is the first step of letting go of control, to find healing, and find myself back again.

The Random Road Trip gave me exactly what I needed: the feeling of being alone and yet with a sense of security because I was traveling with other people (albeit strangers), with an itinerary and plan (except that I didn’t know what the plan was). But then I allowed myself to trust my instincts that I should be where I needed to be and that the destination was irrelevant. I was there for the experience and the change of scenery, and to test out the theory that travel cures a broken heart.

So I was alone with my own thoughts and my own emotions, as I took a break to experience the natural scenery by the sea and in the jungle. I was left alone with myself while on board the bus as I slept my way through the 16 hours of land travel; I was not compelled to talk nor complain while on queue amidst a long line and chaotic welcome at the port entrance (in fact, I was just laughing at the incredulity of the crowd – the ship was not leaving without everyone on board, but of course I left my judgments to myself); I was not forced to share my story to my fellow travelers because everyone else had their own story to tell (to which I was a just a distracted listener, my mind occasionally floating its way at the center of the big wide universe).

I was left alone, by myself just like I was the lone wolf in the city, except that I was seeing new sights and sounds, closer to the serenity and warmth of nature, and further away from the urban jungle where I felt confined, restrained, and suffocated.


If there was one thing I have come to appreciate in two of the Random Road Trips I have joined with Experience Philippines (update as of June 2018: I have already joined a total of 5 and counting), it was that travel was a philosophy. Nothing can ever go wrong with a Random Road Trip – because what can ever go wrong when you don’t know what is supposed to go right in the first place?

Travel made me let go of control and accept that a lot of discomforts are bound to happen, regardless if the trip was well-planned or not (like when we had to change our route because of a storm, or when we had to spend more hours of travel back home because we ran out of return tickets). Travel made me become more resilient, and patient, and accept the fact that there is only a little I can do for things I cannot control – and as the guest of the Random Road Trip, I literally had to put my time and my life to our able Travel Manager to sort things out, while I persevere, and trust that we will eventually get home. Travel made me become more courageous to experience new things: paddleboard and lie on board in the heat of the sun as I contemplate about life; jump without reluctance from a 40ft cliff believing that I would survive, and then do it three more times; go blind in complete darkness in a cold remote cave just because; and endure a ~24 hour travel on the road, in the boat, and the waiting in between. And lastly, the experience taught me to trust that in the company of like-minded strangers, I will be safe. I must admit, I did eventually learn to go out of my shell and open to these kind-hearted souls whom I have traveled with.


A Trip For The Brave Soul

An Experience Philippines Random Road Trip is not for everyone, I must admit. This trip is for the brave soul (or the ones who are afraid, but are taking their first step to find courage); this trip is for the people who choose to let go of control, and let spontaneity and randomness take over; this trip is for the hearts that search for meaningful experiences, to be one with nature in the remotest part of the country, and find kindred spirits in the form of like-minded souls to share memories with; this trip is for real people with their own life experiences, their own baggage and their own yearning for escape, to find a sense of solitude (for you come alone) and companionship (for you are with like-minded strangers).

Through Experience Philippines, I did learn to let go of control and forget about expectations. I may have come alone, but I would come back earning new friends. We were all running away from the city and chasing after experiences that revitalize our soul.


Does Travel Cure A Broken Heart

And here comes the part where I try to answer the question: does travel cure a broken heart? Not entirely. I believe that a cure to a broken heart cannot be solved with a quick trip to the countryside, or an escape from the routine. It is a mixture of a lot of things. I may not know the exact formula, but there is one thing that travel did bring to help me through the new sense of self-discovery. I have come to get to know myself better and realize that I did not know myself entirely. It pushed me to my boundaries and out of my comfort zone. It made me realize that I am more impulsive than I declare myself to be – and I have come to embrace that. It made me realize that I actually love to be in the city and experience the fast-paced life in the demanding corporate world, and at the same time it made me realize that I can make quick getaways outside of the city to revive my tired soul, if I just let go of excuses, will it, and make it happen.


What Travel Made Me Appreciate

But there is one more important thing that travels made me appreciate: I was no longer questioning whether I wanted to live or not. I desperately and wanted to cling to life, because travel made me want to do more, experience more, and discover a deeper sense of meaning in my life and my purpose. I can do more, I can do better, and I can make a difference. I was no longer confined to nurturing the feeling of loss and yearning, but I was looking forward to finding more freedom and release to find new places to discover, to create more experiences to cherish, and to meet more like-minded souls in search of deeper meaning and purpose.

I now travel not to escape, but I travel to experience home everywhere: on the long and winding road, in the calm and raging seas, in the company of conversations and friends, and in the city with the night lights and muted sounds. Home is everywhere and nowhere. But I know I can be home, wherever I choose it to be.

I took the plunge, let go of control, and forgot about expectations. I embraced spontaneity, the unpredictable, and the unknown. I trusted that nothing can ever go wrong if I do not know what was supposed to go right in the first place. That was Experience Philippines’ Random Road Trip. It may not have cured my broken heart, but it gave me so much more. It made such positive impact on my life that it changed the way how I now look and cherish life, my experiences, and the people who surround me.

I wish you find your courage too.