Basketball in Smokey Mountain Dump – Manila, Philippines

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

If your answer is because my job says I have to… chances are you aren’t living the life you want.

The worst thing that can happen to your personal development is to be in a moderately comfortable life of mediocrity. If you aren’t careful this comfortable mediocrity can take your dreams to the grave with you.

So how can you get to the life you want to live?

You need a catalyst to spark that change:

  • Your circumstances are bad enough that you are forced to change
  • A positive experience inspires you to change
Lipa City, Philippines

My first volunteer trip to the Philippines was the catalyst I needed.

The days were spent clearing out debris, talking with locals and learning their stories, shoveling gravel for a new house foundation, carrying 50lb bags of rice uphill, and playing with the kids.

We went on crazy jungle adventures, chased kids around for hide and go seek, learned songs together, and picked them up to dunk the basketball. (Read my full Philippines volunteer trip journal online here)

Everyday was an adventure filled with new and interesting experiences and I felt truly alive.

But then our short time together was over and we had to say goodbye, possibly forever.

The memories of kids shouting Kuya Dave! Kuya Dave! and carrying them on my shoulders were seared into my psyche.

Lipa City, Philippines

When I came home from the Philippines everything had stayed the same while I was gone – but I had changed. I began to loathe my familiar, boring surroundings at home and become depressed.

I had felt more alive in the Philippines than I ever did before. Once I had that experience it was simply unacceptable for me to not go back. I was determined to find a way to return to the Philippines the next year no matter what. I knew what the finish line looked like but I wasn’t sure how to get there.

After making that resolute decision to get back to the Philippines I knew what I was working towards, and the pieces began falling into place.

The path that got me back to the Philippines did not unfold how I thought it would and was full of unexpected twists, surprises, and setbacks. The excitement and adventure of my Philippines volunteer trip was the guiding light that kept me going through the rough spots (like getting sued).

The island of Corregidor, Philippines (Pro HDR)

And now one year later I have returned to the Philippines once again.


What is the catalyst that inspired you to change your life?

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Filed under: Escape 9-5Travel

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