“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” – John Lubbock
Recently, I answered an essay question asking what is an important ‘milestone’ in your life and what have you learned from it?
So what really is that significant event that changed my outlook in life? I think it’s when you realize what you are passionate about.
I love learning that it led me to take a graduate class, but I was completely worn out from working full time while attending law school. Burnt out, I quit school.
Being always busy with many different things, I had little time to slow down, to relax, to just think about myself and reflect on things that truly matters. When I had all the time – I sat in front of my computer, browsing photos of myself with verdant mountains, turquoise waters and blue skies in the background. I felt proud that I’ve been to these wonderful places and met kindred spirits. With that I realized there’s something else I love most — traveling.
Wasn’t it the reason I was absent in classes because I was on the road to a secluded beach or to mountain trails?
It brought me realizations that I wouldn’t have learned sitting in four corners of the classroom. This might be just excuses from quitting school, but I’d say I have reasons you might not understand.
It feeds my curiosity.
My curiosity fueled my passion for travel. Aside from enjoying the beautiful scenery, I love learning about a town’s history and the trivialities of their everyday lives.
I wondered why village folks always seem more content despite not having the comforts we have. I keep finding myself with more questions. Why they haven’t look for jobs outside their quiet and peaceful village and earn more in bigger towns or cities. Why some prefer to spend their lives tending farms at the mountainside when they have worked in the city before.
One time, I even pondered why I was born in a third world country and thought of how lucky those living in developed countries where they can get paid really well and buy things we consider expensive but cheap to them. Then a few years later, a book on aphorisms by Taleb hit close to home. After finding a book I wanted to buy in a corner section of a bookstore, there was this unwrapped book – ‘The Bed of Procrustes’ and I randomly scanned the pages and suddenly I found the answer, which is not of course absolute, but it totally made sense. It reads:
The fact that people in countries with cold weather tend to be harder working, richer, less relaxed, less amicable, less tolerant of idleness, more (over) organized and more harried than those in hotter climates should make us wonder whether wealth is mere indemnification, and motivation is just overcompensation for not having a real life.
And this made me think differently now on how I should live and enjoy life.
“Okay raman mi dire day bisan magkalisud usahay,” said a 40ish woman from a remote village. I am jealous hearing those words that were taken lightly..
PS: I did not answer the essay this way, but I did mention that it’s when I started climbing beautiful mountains and backpacking that made my life exciting with so many lessons brought back home.