I got invited to do a talk at a travel workshop for women and one of the teasers that Tessa, the organizer, made was featuring speakers with our own travel trivias like why we travel, travel why, what kind of traveler we are, travel persona, and what we want to get out of it or do, travel goal. This got me thinking and when I read the travel persona, I can well relate to some of these which I will discuss below.
We have thousands of reasons why we travel. Our reasons differ with age and with our current disposition. When I was a young traveler, one of the reasons was to experience the world, to explore its beauty. I climbed mountains, went for treks. Travel to unknown places for the sheer adventure and going to places that not many have been to. It was exhilarating despite the effort.
Eventually when I got into a relationship, I travel for the sole reason to make memories with my amour. As I was the more experienced traveler, I was the guide and I reveled in bringing my lovers to places. There’s something about traveling with your partner, it’s the shared experiences that make your relationship better and interesting. READ MORE: Love notes on the road, part 1
But not all relationships last. My first one ended after two years when a cellphone snatcher snuffed the life of my love. The second, after seven years, it succumbed to my complacency. The third, after a year of being lied, it just had to end. And after each, travel was a reason to escape. Eventually, I loved again and from time to time we travel around the country and soon abroad. READ MORE: To nurse a heartache in Baguio
Now, I think I’ve matured as a traveler. I’m more of a Sensate where I travel for beautiful sensory experiences: the sight of those interesting houses in Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Japan; the taste of crisp and light roti dipped in a mild curry sauce with tender mutton in the old town of Phuket; the arresting sounds of imams from various mosques calling out to prayer at 6 PM while I am at an elevated position overlooking the town of Sitangkai at dusk; the scent of pine trees filling the air as one alights the bus upon reaching Baguio; and feeling the ancient stones of a Roman temple ruin in Barcelona’s Barri Gotic.
I can also be a Scholar, where I travel to nourish my mind. I love culture and people’s way of life. Of great architecture be it heritage or modern. One of the reasons why I dropped by Kyoto was to see the works of Architect Tadao Ando, and Tokyo for the beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral designed by Kenzo Tange. Both renownd Japanese architects who won the Pritzker Prize. Whenever I visit cities, I always make it a point to go to museums or hunt for old art deco architecture. READ MORE: Tadao Ando Architecture in Kyoto
To some extent, I’m also a Seeker, when I travel to gain insightful and powerful experiences, like spiritual, where I want to get connected more to a specific place. There was one event that I got invited to document before. I’ve been wanting to write about this but can’t fully capture that feeling. Mt. Firis in Maguindanao is considered the Holy of Holies by the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo tribes and traditionally, it was where their spiritual leaders ascended. It was occupied by a Muslim rebel group as one of their camps. After the rebels were driven out by the military, a kanduli ritual will have to be performed to reclaim it. Somewhere along the way, as the gongs sounded while we and the tribes were trekking up the mountain, the sun was already setting and this beautiful warm light enveloping us, the light cool breeze soothing our perspiring bodies and my own disposition, coming from a heartbreak, just came together and I broke down. I can’t explain why but there was a spiritual connection at that place. Every time I think of that experience, I can’t help but cry.
I started out as a documentary photographer with an interest in Filipino Spirituality. That’s why I have been documenting Holy Week syncretic rituals in Quezon and Laguna. Check out my Estan Cabigas Photography site. My travel goal has blossomed into wanting to document photographically world culture’s spirituality: the Thaipusam in various places in Asia, the Holy Week rituals in Spain, Easter at Lalibella in Ethiopia, the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket and even the massive Khumbh Mela events to name a few. Eventually, with sheer determination and focus, I will achieve my travel goal and come out as a more enlightened, fulfilled traveler.
Travel is a passion. It will always be. It runs in my veins. But to travel with a purpose, to travel to cater to ones interests and desires, and to travel to fulfill one’s goals will make one a better and compleat person.