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Unplanned itineraries

/ 12:12 AM September 25, 2016

The dreadful but exciting planning of exploring an unfamiliar place is one of the many reasons travel is addicting.

When I traveled alone to Cebu, I took note of the must-see places that I saw on travel blogs and web guides. It was hard work, as I had to organize everything myself. I had to maximize time; I made a schedule to strictly follow. But when planning a trip with friends, it was not less difficult. We often had disagreements, so planning became stressful, too.

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Still, planning helps us become more organized and patient.

When I was still a student, I set a time limit on everything. I had boundaries, limitations, restrictions. At 20, I told myself, I would have obtained a bachelor’s degree (which actually happened). But it didn’t stop there, as I also set a time limit on my dreams. I dreamed that at 25, I would own all the luxuries one could want. At 26, I would be providing my parents with wealth and success. At 28, I would be married to the man of my dreams. At 30, I would be a full-time wife and mom, taking care of a happy family of my own.

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At that time, I thought this timetable was necessary because it kept me motivated to achieve a “happy future.” It was very easy to put it that way, so easy to draw a picture of the future without thinking that a lot of things could happen in between, and everything that had been planned could be ruined.

Now, looking back at my previous trips, everything didn’t turn out as planned. Our itineraries were not followed. Some places were missed, and some places not on the list were explored. Some problems arose. There were delays and changes.

It happens every time we travel. The journey doesn’t go exactly as planned.

And I’ve realized that there’s no way I’ll be a millionaire at 25. There’s no way I can own all those luxuries I’ve dreamed of. Most of all, I know that I wouldn’t be ready to get married and settle down at 28.

My plans have been ruined, but it’s totally fine. My plans were actually beautifully ruined because I turned out to be a person I didn’t expect to become. But I’m pretty sure this is the person I’m supposed to become.

I’ve realized that life is not as smooth and as simple as a+b=c. You will encounter complicated equations along the way. Life is like unplanned itineraries—a lot of unexpected things come your way. You may have to take the unusual route. You may take turns. Or you may stay in one place longer than in another. You’ll realize that all the places you’ve been to have their own significance in molding you as a person.

What I want to tell you, dear reader, is that it’s okay to set goals to pursue. They’ll serve as your motivation to become better. It’s not wrong to be optimistic, but it’s right to be realistic. It’s okay not to achieve those goals at a certain period of time, especially if circumstances don’t permit it. If the plan didn’t work out, remember that there’s always a plan B. Still, choose to get moving to see what’s there.

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Now, every time I travel, I don’t make schedules anymore. I only research some basic facts about a place, then I pack my bags and go wherever my feet will take me.

Well, I still have time to achieve my dreams, but I won’t put big pressure on myself. Whatever I’ll be in the process, I’ll appreciate myself. And there’s no way I can enjoy myself

other than living the moment—living my life now.

I’ve decided to stop putting a time limit on my future, and boundaries on what I’ll become. I now understand that there are broad possibilities. Whatever things are waiting to happen, I’m ready to embrace them, and I’m ready to see new perspectives from them. All of them.

Friz Antonio, 23, is in the guidance counseling staff in a school in Pampanga.

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