It has always been my calling to be a doctor, maybe even starting on the day I was born, since my late father was a kind and compassionate physician. Throughout my professional life, I have dedicated myself to gaining further knowledge as the practice of Medicine is a continuing learning process. Like practicing Medicine, travel involves expanding one’s education in cultures as he discovers more places. It was not surprising that I would eventually seek traveling to different destinations around the world to enrich the mind.
I picture life as a huge classroom where learning is never-ending. My passion for travel comes from within – my personal wanderlust and the drive to see the world. Exploring new lands, getting to know the people, their history, culture, and customs, and as well as experiencing the amazing attractions around the world are my goals in traveling. This hobby also becomes a social exercise, as we meet new people from diverse cultures and strengthening the bonds with our loved ones. I have an Indiana Jones in a part of me – the traveling archaeologist and imperfect hero from the movies who is scholarly, witty, funny, and with a great sense of adventure. These experiences are priceless, life-changing, and sometimes the journey itself becomes the destination.
It was in 2009 when I visited my brother Robert in Switzerland that my dreams of becoming a traveler were realized and I discovered my wanderlust. Now, I recognize that traveling to the various locales in the world is a part of my life. It is a lifestyle that I want to share with my family and friends. Traveling is more than taking Instagram-worthy pictures. It is about learning the culture of the country, establishing social connections with the locals, and experiencing a deeper immersion with the place. Be a traveler, not just a tourist.
Traveling is a lifestyle for better health. I have experienced wonderful benefits in my mental and physical health. Going on a vacation creates a healthy break from our daily grind, increases happiness, and creates beautiful memories by increasing serotonin and other happy hormones. The experience of travel promotes our brain health, by expanding knowledge, creating a wider perspective in life, and promoting our personal growth. We experience a boost in our physical health and fitness during travel, as we easily meet our daily exercise requirements. Over-all, it makes a person well-rounded and promotes a work-life balance.
As for writing, I consider myself an accidental travel writer. It was in 2014 that I re-connected with the Health and Lifestyle magazine publisher Dr. Rafael R. Castillo, who was my former Editor-in-Chief when I was with the Editorial Board of the Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine. Knowing my writing abilities and that I enjoy travel, he suggested that I contribute to the Wanderlust section of the magazine. My first travel feature “I Dreamt of Switzerland” was published in June 2014, and the rest is history. Travel writing has given me an outlet for expressing creativity and a sense of fulfillment as I try to transport our readers to exciting places that they may have only dreamt of. In sharing my experiences and practical tips over the 40 travelogues so far, I am happy to have been able to connect with the readers and receive from them favorable responses such as having inspired them to travel, experience things beyond their comfort zone, and helped them discover their wanderlust.
For this special issue focusing on travel as a lifestyle, the Health and Lifestyle magazine collaborated with The Medical City Cardiovascular Institute. We have features on the health aspects of travel, local and international travel, culinary recommendations, and tips on creative photography. We also included an advisory for travelers in the midst of the novel-Corona virus public health emergency. The project leader is Dr. Raul E. Ramboyong, a passionate traveler, having visited 187 countries and territories. He assembled a group of creative and talented individuals – all successful practicing cardiologists who share a common interest in writing about their favorite travel stories and who have expressed their enthusiasm for this unique opportunity.
With this distinctive and expanded edition of the magazine, I hope we will be able to encourage our readers to consider travel as a lifestyle for a better health. It does not have to break the bank—one just has to find the right destination.
I wish everyone safe travels.
ATENODORO R. RUIZ JR., M.D.