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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Thinking Thoughts: Challenging A Fearful Traveler's Mind

Some people consider traveling as an extravagance and pleasure in life – enjoying a comfortable lifestyle miles away from the bustling city life and stressful biome. I’d say, traveling is an opportunity to know more about myself, learn new things that lie ahead, and rediscovering personal thoughts, fears, preferences and perceptions.

Water Rafting Course at Cagayan De Oro
CDO White Water Rafting

Living in a middle-class economic status, I take every travel destination as an opportunity as opposed to luxury as money is always of the essence. I admit, saving regular travel funds is a constant challenge payday after payday. It wasn’t easy setting aside at least 10% of my net payday salary for travel purposes. I assume many travelers and would-be go-getters share the same sentiments as me. Well good thing nowadays that a number of flight carriers, notably Cebu Pacific Air, offer relatively cheaper rates for both domestic and international routes!

camiguin White island

I’ve been traveling for quite some time now and every place I had visited has been etched on my memory as I think traveling is a way of searching and finding one’s self. I consider each place unique from the other and experiencing and appreciating one’s local culture and tradition is highly irreplaceable. I’ve met several local people that shared some thoughts about their daily lives and it made me more thankful of where I am right now - That feeling of “Faith in humanity restored!”.

Travelandcount Travel
Where to next?

Like everybody else, of course I do have several fears and I think that make us all humans. The biggest challenge thereof is translating these fears into inspirations and motivations. Yes I admit, I’m afraid of snakes and spiders, well generally of the reptilian family, and as well as drowning in the water. Some say that real traveling is stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing one’s self to the limits, and well I’ve been doing it at times but in many times I still have reservations and hesitations.

My recent travel to Cagayan De Oro taught me a lot of things about myself; just for the information of everyone, Cagayan De Oro or popularly known by its acronym “CDO” is the “extreme adventure” capital of the Northern Mindanao Region. I am an adventurous person and I do some crazy things at times, but there still are some thoughts at the back of my head that hinders me to do extreme things. Well, lucky and unfortunate at the same time for me as CDO got the hell out of me through its zip line courses, and rafting adventures.

Dahilayan Forest Park View Bukidnon

I am not afraid of heights but I let other people try those height-dealing activities first to convince myself that I am not afraid of it. Funny as it may seem but yes, I want to acclimate myself first and assure my mind that it’s going to be okay.

Dahilayan Adventure Park Bukidnon

Dahilayan Park’s Dropzone taught me a lot - Chasing my fears and living a life a step higher, metaphorically. Dropzone’s a 120-foot “pendulum” swing and it wasn’t easy realizing that I was being hoisted up minute-by-minute. And every single minute I waited before reaching the 120-foot mark above meant like forever. I thought it was the scariest part of the ride, but it was not… yet. 

Dahilayan Park Dropzone
Dahilayan Park Dropzone

When the park operator finally said, “Oh, pagbilang ko nang tatlo, hihilahin niyo yung lubid for release ah” ("When I count to three, please pull the release rope okay") Fears sank into my nerves as I will actually drop any time soon. “Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo!” ("One, Two, Three!"), shouted the park operator, and off we were released and swung back and forth with our lungs out shouting to the highest decibel level that can be achieved. The feeling was great, free-falling and nothing to think but Thanking God for the wonderful life he has been giving me. That’s how great it was to the point that I thought I was going to die anytime soon.

Also, the 21-Rapids Advanced White Water Rafting course was unforgettable and it became more special with the words uttered to me by our boat guide that I will never forget. While riding the river rapids, I was hesitant at first to paddle hard as I think I’m going to fall into the water if I lose my balance sitting at the edge of the raft. I was assigned to sit at the front row to be one of the two strong paddlers and I was flattered by that designation as it wasn’t an easy task. 

CDO Advanced Rafting Course

After 4 rapids that we’ve experience, our boat man told me, “Sir, kung ayaw nyo na mag-paddle, lipat na lang kayo ng pwesto sa gitna. Kung hindi nyo po haharapin yung takot niyo, hindi niyo ma-eenjoy yung experience niyo” ("Sir, if you don’t want to put some efforts in your paddling, might as well switch some places in the middle. If you don’t want to face your fears, you won’t truly enjoy the rafting experience."). It struck me bad. I realized that living with fears is living the life with numerous limitations. He definitely made sense to me with those words. 

Then after the 4th rapid, I challenged myself with my “why-not” perception and just paddled hard caring not if I fall or not in the water or if the rapids are extreme or not. I realized that true joy and fulfillment can only be achieved if I will set myself apart from my comfort level. I will definitely never forget our boat guide’s inspirational words.

White Water Rafting CDO
White Water Rafting

Knowing what sets apart a memorable life from just a typical life has enlightened me a lot. Going beyond our regular means and capabilities is where we can only achieve true happiness and where we can know who we really are and what we’re made of. Fears are constant dilemmas and if we won’t face it the sooner, those fears will haunt us day by day.

CDO Rafting Mindanao


  1. nice article. i've been there twice and i could not agree more that the experiences are priceless. it's kinda scary but definitely worth the experience.

    1. Thanks a lot for reading this travel article! I do hope more Filipinos will travel around the PH to further strengthen our tourism business.


  2. Wow! Great read. I thought rafting was scary but by the look of it, your enjoyment must've overpowered the fear. I am excited to try it. Someday, I will! :)

    1. Thanks a lot for reading my rafting article! I share the same sentiments as you but believe, once you're already on the raft and the rapids get tough, you'll forget your fears :)

      Keep traveling!

  3. White water rafting is the real CDO experience! Have tried it and our boat turned-over.
    Nice article!

    1. Thanks Glen! I couldn't agree more with your comment. Such a defying activity well worth the try!

      Keep traveling!
      Dan :)




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