I just came home from a 5-day trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I attended the 28th SSEAYP International General Assembly (SIGA). SSEAYP, or Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program, is an annual program sponsored by the Japanese government. Every year, hundreds of youth from Japan and the ASEAN countries gather to embrace cultural diversity, and collaborate to discuss social matters affecting the youth sector… aboard the luxury ship Nippon Maru for over 40 days. SIGA, on the other hand, is an annual grand reunion of all SSEAYP alumni, held in different ASEAN countries every year.
Being a SSEAYP delegate back in the year 2000 is one of the biggest milestones in my life. At the age of 21, I travelled abroad for the first time… and as a part of an international youth program!
Traveling, as they say, is food for the soul. I could not agree more with that statement. As a youth advocate and a motivational speaker, I have been to more than 50 provinces in the Philippines and 30 countries around the world. Going places helps me grow as an individual. I have gained more wisdom through traveling than anything else I have ever done in my life.
I encourage everyone to go out and S.E.E. the world, and here are the 3 reasons why:
3 Reasons to Go Out and S.E.E. the World
S – HARE
One of the best things about being a motivational speaker is that I don’t just get to travel the world… I get to travel with PURPOSE. I rarely travel for the sole purpose of taking a vacation, and even if I do, I would still end up being invited for a speaking engagement! That happened to me when I was invited to speak at an event for Toastmasters International in Dubai while I was supposedly on vacation with my family.
I’m not complaining. In fact, I am grateful that it happened. Traveling is not just about what you can GET out of the experience, but more importantly, what you can GIVE. We have already seen how Filipino talent has brought pride to our country in the international scene – in performing arts, academics, the sciences, fashion, and yes, in motivational speaking. I believe that every Filipino has the capacity for greatness and excellence, and that our skills and talents are meant to be shared to the whole world.
E – NRICH
New culture, new food, new places, new experiences… these are just some of the many things you will discover when you travel. When you travel, you will be enriched with many experiences that will make you a wiser, better and even stronger person than you were before.
Traveling does not only allow you to discover the world. It also lets you discover yourself. Did you ever think you would learn to speak a third language? How about a fourth? Have you ever wondered what it feels like to reach the top of a mountain you only get to see in pictures? Your thrill of a lifetime could be waiting in another part of the world.
E – NGAGE
Aside from seeing new places, you will also meet new people. Being exposed to people from other countries enabled me to embrace and respect diversity. It is very interesting to discover how people from different parts of the world can be similar and different at the same time.
One of the best things about traveling is that you get to create meaningful relationships with a lot of people. Imagine having a good set of friends in every country you visit. The great thing about it is, they’d gladly offer to take you around and even stay at their home the next time you come over! But more than having a foster home for your trip, what’s great about these friendships is that there is always the potential to create things together – like a project or an advocacy you both share.
So, where next? Go out there and travel, and learn from life’s biggest classroom – the WORLD.