National Geographic caused it!

If you are looking for someone to blame for my wanderlust, I suggest you blame the National Geographic. And probably my family too because they never stopped me from reading it.

I have come to realize that it is not traveling that makes me happy. It is the things that I learn when I am traveling that make me happy. More than I like adventure and a great view, I love to learn. I love history and culture. I love learning how people live in other places. I love learning their customs, traditions, beliefs , etc.

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When I was a child, I read a lot of National Geographic magazines. I remembered being especially drawn to stories of the ancient civilizations: the Egyptians, the Mayans, the Incans, the Aztecs. I would read their stories over and over and stare at the photos of ancient temples and burial sites. Most of the places in my bucketlist are there because of this magazine.

I would spend hours just reading the magazine. I would imagine the Incans and their golds; the Mayans and their sprawling cities and temples; the Aztecs and their pyramids and blood sacrifices. I would also read about the people in remote places of the world and how they live their lives and keep their traditions.

As a grown up I would spend hours watching documentaries from the History Channel and the National Geographic. When I travel I am more drawn to historical places. I love taking photos of century old buildings and be amazed every time at the thought that these were more than just buildings. They were part of our past.

What fascinated me more about Sagada is not the view but their burial rituals, the history, traditions and culture. What made my trip to Zamboanga memorable are not the seafood and the white and pink sand beaches but the stories and dreams of the people who lived there. The dreams of that driver in Malamawi and the stories of the people I was with in Sta. Cruz Island made my travel more worthwhile.

I long to travel abroad not because I want to see the sights but because I want to see how they live. I want to learn their culture firsthand. I want to see the historical sites and learn history where history actually happened.

I remembered visiting the Diplomat Hotel in Baguio. I have always wanted to visit the place and this is not because of it being haunted, I have a really vivid imagination and I don’t need a haunted hotel to scare me. I do a great job scaring myself. Besides, if I want haunted all I have to do is go home. I was drawn to it because of its tragic history. (Apparently, I am also morbid.)

I guess I am truly blessed to be born in a family where I was always encouraged to learn. I am blessed to be born in a family where I am encouraged to see the world and learn whatever I can from it. I was taught to go out of my comfort zone and they have always supported me both in days when I prefer to stay at home and read and in days when I prefer to roam around places I’ve never been to before.

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