As with all graduations, many parents and graduates cry of joy. I was myself so touched with emotions on my graduation day. I must say that the joy of graduating is with any doubt priceless. That mix of feelings that bumps into you is somehow hard to describe but does include an inch of self-pride and personal achievement. As you walk toward the stage to receive your degree (yes! that piece of paper you have been studying for ages) you feel like a load was taken off your mind. All the pain you have been through (that beast of a job you have been doing to pay your university fees, the loads of homework, etc.) gets straight away forgotten. You get overwhelmed by emotions and each steps that you are making toward the Dean gets you closer to the next milestone of your life. You realize that you are on the verge to close a big chapter of your book but also… start a new one.
Many graduates will rush into the workforce after graduating. Do not ask me if it is a good thing or not. All I can say is that for myself, I wanted to start that chapter of my life a bit differently. Not that I wanted to be different from my fellas but maybe because I just wanted to start things in my own way. Take the time to think. Think about where I will be going next – professionally speaking I mean… and guess where I ended? The airport.
To cut a long story short, I packed and embarked on a road trip for 3 months where I passed through 10 different countries. It was not only the longest but also the most self-educative trips I have ever done so far. I took planes, buses, cars, ferries, tricycles and I walked and swam too! From Indonesia to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, France, Switzerland, Morocco, Qatar, Bahrain, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines I have experienced a range of new things and met heaps of people along my journey.
I believe that traveling is part of your education and those who do not travel, miss out on many good things. Going from one country to another, I have kicked the road each brand new day in the unknown without worrying about what tomorrow will be made of or where will I sleep and eat. I went camping, I took hotels, I crashed at friends places and I have been welcomed by locals under their roofs too. I met random people from all walks of life and line of work. Young and elders. Short and tall. I cracked some jokes and laughed with those of my age while the elders have spread their wisdom all over me. There is surely a lot to learn from those that walked the path before us. You just have to listen to their stories and pick up few advices.
I urge you to travel the world and when you do, please touchdown in Morocco. It is a beautiful country that has a lot to offer! Not only is the Moroccan gastronomy amazing but the warm people and the beautiful landscapes will leave you speechless. The kingdom of Morocco is a feast for the eyes, trust me. Travel over there and make your way down to the South. Stop over Agadir, Essaouira, Dakhla and Ouarzazate and do not forget to rest while paying a visit to the different villages along the way. Locals will welcome you with open arms into their houses to drink the traditional mint tea. Travel to Morocco and get a sweet taste of the oriental culture. There is a lot to see, a lot to taste and a lot to enjoy! Enjoy a ride in the Sahara or follow the smell of the moroccan spices that will lead you to the Old Medina and souks of the city. But be careful. Make sure to take your heart back with you at the end of the trip.. part of it may want to stay over there.
I urge you to travel the world and when you do, fly to Middle East for some good surprises. This part of the world isn’t any more dangerous than any other places in the world. Out of the three countries I have visited so far in Middle East, I would rank Bahrain on the top, followed by UAE and then Qatar. As small as it may be, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a moderate Muslim country very opened to the world. It has a rich culture and an interesting colonial past. What I really liked about Bahrain is that the country is very modern without being too shallow nor “bling bling”. I would refer Bahrain as being a ”mini Dubai” in the golf region but without the sparkles or superficial image usually associated with UAE. I did enjoy my stay in both countries though. I highly recommend you to fly over there and have a look for yourself. They are both worth visiting. On the other side, I found Qatar being not much appealing. There is no much to see or do in Qatar (apart if you are chasing some dollars). It goes without saying that the richest country of the world hasn’t blown off my mind…at all!
I urge you to travel the world and when you do, please do it as far as you can somewhere in Asia. Everyone that knows me, knows as well that I am in love with the Asian culture. Travel to Malaysia and meet the Ourang-Otangs in Sabah. Fly to Brunei and go visit the most beautiful golden mosques on Earth. Escape to Philippines and enjoy a good dive with whale sharks or jump out of high waterfalls for some cheap thrill. Go to Indonesia and stop over Bali to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and do not forget to head to Lombok and climb the active volcano mount Rinjani. Touchdown in Singapore and have a swim on the top of the world. The Infinity pool, gazing down on the glittering city-skyline from 57 levels above is a must do. Travel here and there but I dare you to learn. Learn from the Asians. Learns from their habits. How they do things. How they deal with things. You will enjoy it as much as I did… am sure!
I urge you to travel the world and when you do, stop over Europe. France is a fancy country that you will not want to miss! Try the croissant filled with almonds or just buy yourself a baguette with some cheese. Visit Paris and learn about the french touch! Walk in museums and galleries. There are heaps of monuments that you can visit. France is a great country but the French can sometimes be perceived as unfriendly or arrogant people if you do not speak their language. Do not pay much attention, just bring your dictionary along and that would be a good opportunity for you to learn some French. While making your way down to the South, cross the borders and head to Switzerland. This part of the world is known for beautiful sceneries. The quiet lakes overlooking the mountains will leave you open-mouthed.
I urge you to travel the world and I urge you to do it as soon as possible. Remember my friend, traveling is part of your education. That chapter of your life after your graduation never gets to its end. You will continuously learn throughout your life but if you travel, obviously you learn more. It all comes down to say that I had blast during my journey – from the beginning till the end. I just loved every bite of it. I traveled alone to some places but I also kicked the road with friends that I joined elsewhere. Although I did travel on a limited budget as I do believe great travels result from sacrifices, I did work hard for it too – almost one year preparation. The itinerary I have set up at first got partly modified somewhere along the journey. I was quite flexible on my plans. Philippines got into the picture for some odd reasons I guess. Young, wild and free I was just following my heart and trusting my guts all the way. I was alive and kicking..and up for any crazy idea!
As of today, I have visited so far 23 countries in total. Nothing has been taken for granted though. I am all grateful. But this is not the end of it. So here I go my friend. I urge you to travel the world with me throughout this blog and discover all it has to offer. Always chase your dream. Sky is the limits.