One of our alums, Terrance Reynolds, is blogging during his study abroad in Hong Kong. This is the second installment from his journey.
TERRANCE REYNOLDS / OCT 7, 2015
I was first approached to go to the Philippines by a group of exchange students I barely knew. With a few extra dollars in my wallet from working this past summer I figured why not, I’m in Asia, let’s experience the culture. Though I have to admit, as the weeks went by and we planned the trip, I was extremely nervous. On one hand, I have other exchange students telling me it’s paradise, meanwhile I have the news informing me of kidnappings, malaria and terrorist groups that plague the country. I was torn between two perspectives and didn’t know who or what to believe.
However, when I arrived in the Philippines after the initial cultural shock, I saw a place with its own uniqueness and beauty. From the road trips through the mountainous country side, to island hopping to almost a dozen different islands, and visiting one of the 7 wonders of nature, it has easily been one of the best experiences of my life. I would begin the day preparing for an adventure and end the day grabbing food and drink on a beach with wonderful people I met along the way.
I guess my time in the Philippines helped me realize a couple of things about myself. First off, never let fear be the basis for your decision making. I was so close to backing out the trip. Even when I was there, in middle in the ocean, didn’t know how to swim, and I almost didn’t get in the water. I know that example seems small, but my whole trip was filled with decisions like that. And sometimes with a little risk, comes a great reward. I could not have made it to any of the islands if I didn’t get in the water (there’s a saying in there somewhere). With the help of a tour guide, and a life jacket of course, I dove into some of the clearest waters in the world, and swam until I was too tired to go any further.
The Philippines is a diamond rough around the edges. Traveling throughout the countryside felt like adventure just as much as a vacation. While there were times filled with uncertainty and fear, for those six days, with my luggage in one hand and my camera in the other, it felt like I was a National Geographic or CNN photojournalist traveling to a different country all to write this blog post. My life needs more experiences like this. Sometimes just seeing these places on the television, or the internet just isn’t enough. I’m already planning to go to a different country next month.