As I get ready for my big Philippines adventure, it’s hard to avoid getting stress out and worried. A lot is about packing. How many pairs of underwear should I bring? Will that sweater be warm enough on the plane? Will all the stuff I’m bringing fit in my backpack? I’ve actually lost sleep worrying about these things.
I’ve learned that once I’ve left home, none of these things really matter. As long as I have my passport, everything will be fine. Everywhere in the world people live, they sell the things they need for daily life. If I didn’t bring enough underwear, of if my sweater isn’t warm enough, I know I’ll always be able to buy what I need. If my backpack is too full, I can do the opposite and leave behind items I find I’m not using.
Another worry I have is getting around in a new, strange country. I don’t know why I lost sleep about this last night, because I’ve never had trouble doing this in the past. Maybe because I just read about how Manila doesn’t have a central bus station. But one of the greatest things about traveling in developing countries is that the people want to help you, and make it easy. Local entrepreneurs will meet you at train, bus, and ferry stations, and compete to take you to their guesthouse. It’s like watching capitalism in action! Best of all, no advance planning is required. All you have to do is show up. It’s so different from #TerryTreksUSA, where I traveled alone to 14 national parks. In the USA you are on your own. Nobody’s going to meet you when you arrive in Yellowstone. Hotels are expensive and have to be booked in advance.
So, even though it’s impossible to avoid sleepless night before such a big trip, I’ve mainly been thinking about how smoothly things went on my past trips. I have my passport, plane ticket, and first night in Manila booked. I have more than enough gear (I’ll probably end up leaving stuff behind to lighten my load). I have a rough idea of where I want to go. There’s nothing to worry about. Let the adventure begin!