A fellow travel blogger asked recently: “how do you find joy while traveling?” The question confused me for a bit. Is finding joy in your travels supposed to be a conscious act? For me, the act of traveling itself is a joy. There is no need for me to have to find it, it’s already there.
Joy is the brief anxiety I feel before leaving for an international trip; the mixed feelings of fear and excitement about going somewhere all by myself makes me happy, no matter how contradictory it may seem.
It’s the smell of exhaust and the slow rumble of engines of buses gearing to pull out of the terminal, bringing to mind the earliest memories of my childhood as my mother towed me and my brother (mostly me) from one destination to the next.
Joy is also hearing the boarding announcements and the sound the immigration officers make as they stamp my passport. It’s the clack-clack-clack of the tally counter as flight attendants count passengers before lift-off.
It’s my first sight of a foreign country; the people, places, and food so different and yet so the same. It’s the conversations I have with locals, the questions I receive for traveling alone, and the offers extended to me to share their home and their lives even for just a brief period of time.
Joy is the interaction I have with fellow travelers in hostels, hearing stories of where they’ve gone and where they’re going; it’s the shock I feel as I see roommates undressing in front of me like it’s nothing.
It’s also the feeling of weightlessness as I float on my back in the blue-green waters of a small island, the feel of the pebbles under my feet as I hike towards the peak of a small hill.
Joy is the look and smile from someone I barely know, a look that says we’re kindred spirits, and maybe a promise of something more.
It’s the flicker of desire I feel for someone I just met, knowing nothing will happen and being content with it. I know that not all potentials need to be realized. What’s important is that it’s there. And if our paths have intersected once, who knew that it won’t intersect again in the future?
“How do you find joy while traveling?”
Thinking about all these possible responses to the question, I realized that there can only be one answer for me: I find joy in my everyday life, whether I’m traveling or not.
It’s going home from a trip, no matter how short or how long, and seeing familiar people and places.
It’s picking ripe guavas and seeing roses in full bloom in my garden, tended proudly by an elderly neighbor who takes pride in her work.
It’s the soundless meow of my cat Jumper as she sidles up to me, looking for a petting or a kiss, or the snuggle of my cat Kabs as I get ready for bed.
It’s the feel of my breath going in and out, in and out, as I run the first kilometer after months of inactivity.
And it’s in the wordless thanks of a random stranger as I help her cross the street, or carry her bags up a flight of stairs.
Indeed, joy, for me, is everywhere. I just have to open myself to it and it floods me daily, whether I’m home in the Philippines or somewhere up in the mountains of Nepal, paragliding with a view of the Himalayas in front of me.
I don’t need to find joy, it’s right there in front of me and all around me, waiting to be seen, acknowledged, and appreciated. Traveling is joy, yes, but for me, life itself is also full of joy.
How about you? How do you find joy in your travels?
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Hi Ms. Aleah,
You have such an encouraging post and blogs. You really inspired me on this topic.
May you continue to write ideas that can touch others. God bless.
I’m looking forward for your upcoming post, especially this summer.
Hi there Aleah. I have been reading some travel blogs lately as I am planning to travel locally ( within the Philippines ). I am also planning to document my experiences along the way. 🙂 Your blog is one of the blogs that I have stumbled upon and its inspiring me more. Any words of wisdom you can impart with aspirants like me? 🙂
Thanks for dropping by, Rienz. I guess my tip would be to (1) think of your niche now, and (2) if you want to grow your blog, think of what your readers need and want. I’m still struggling with number 2 myself LOL but it’s a good advice nevertheless 😉
I loved this, Aleah! What a beautiful and inspiring post. Like you, I find the act of travel joyful and everything waiting to be discovered. But in the craziness of everyday life sometimes, I tend to forget it’s the little joys that I need to appreciate more. Thanks for the reminder! BTW, I love the new blog layout.
Beautiful post, Aleah. Sometimes I feel like people think that travel can fix all of their problems and be the sole source of their happiness. And while travel can be therapeutic and it can bring joy, it’s important to find joy in our daily lives as well when we’re not traveling. Life is such a blessing and there are so many things to be grateful for. So glad you shared this!
I chanced upon your website saw this post. I love your all the joys your enumerated here that you find here when you travel. 🙂 But what struck the most perhaps is when you affirmed that what makes you happy during a travel need not to be a conscious. I a newbie in terms of travelling and sometimes I am frustrated every time I am asked to explain what satisfaction I find in it. You are so right. One need not explain. 🙂
Hi Aleah, this is such a BEAUTIFUL post. I was having goose pimples while reading your words. I think you nailed my “travel joy” definition from your very first sentence – that traveling itself is a joy – from the planning, to walking into the airport, to first sniff of air in your destination, to discovering culture and meetng people, to going home, to sorting photos, and to sharing the whole travel experience.
And for joy in everyday life, you’re right that it’s always there under our nose. It’s always there , it’s up to a person to recognize or to desire it.
I am not really much of a traveler, except for occasional travels with my family.
It is a joy for me discovering the unknown. You don’t know what to expect and what’s gonna happen. It’s full of surprises.
And lastly, it is the opportunity to create happy memories with your love ones. I realize actually that you don’t remember much the hardship or the pain that comes along with traveling.
What lingers in your memory are the happy moments. 🙂
Travel is not just good memories, but also some bad or even meh ones. But I agree, it’s the happy memories that stay with you, and that’s all that matters. 🙂
Although I’ve been to Thailand many times…Never been to Chiangmai. Going early October. Any suggestions best low cost way to get there from Bangkok? Fly, train, bus????
Hi Ian. Bus is the least expensive, but plane is the most convenient, and the difference, while double, isn’t much if you value your time. Bus takes 8 hours (around 500 baht) while plane takes less than 2 (around 1,000 baht). Never been on a train, it may be an interesting experience.
You so eloquently answered the question, which should never have been asked in the first place 🙂 Just kidding on the last part.
But I agree with you completely with what you listed here.
To share (without being asked, sowwy) my own experience – it’s tasting Philippines in the dishes of Costa Rica 🙂
Do you mean you cook Philippine food there, or do their food remind you of home? I can’t wait to be in South America 🙂
I find joy when I eat LOL 😀
HAHAHA! Ditto! Food makes me happpppyyyy
Why doesn’t it show in your bodies? *envious* hahaha