One of my friends advocates taking cold showers for a month.

Another decided to wear only 7 items of clothing for 7 days.

And one is determined to visit every country in the world before his 35th birthday. (Yes, even the scary ones.)

What’s behind all of this craziness?

They’ve all realized that a life of constant comfort is numbing.

A little pain reminds you that you’re alive. A few days of discomfort leads to renewed gratitude.

For me, it was the shower curtain.

When we finally checked in to the Badladz Beach Resort in Puerto Galera after nearly a week of transit (and dodging typhoons), I was most delighted to see a shower curtain in the bathroom.

The lounge in Singapore didn’t have one. Neither did our hotels in Manila or Batangas.

But aside from saving me a few minutes of mopping up after myself, it really didn’t change anything.

So why did it matter?

I think it was a symbol of the basic conveniences that I took for granted everyday.

And after being without them for a week, I recognized them again.

I didn’t overlook or expect them anymore.

In just a few days, my “normal” has been recalibrated.

  • In an unfamiliar environment, I’m forced to stay focused on the present.
  • Put in difficult situations, I’m trusting the inherent goodness of people.
  • Stripped of plentiful comforts, I’m grateful for small pleasures.
  • Without constant connection, I’m learning how refreshing it is to unplug.
  • Carrying only a backpack, I’ve realized how simple life can be.

And long after this adventure is over, the lessons are still mine to keep.


Have you learned any powerful life lessons lately? How?