Car companies are doing a lot of revenge travel

Ask anyone from the automotive industry and they will tell you that work hasn’t been busier than it is these days. I write this fresh from a weekend where my fellow motoring journalists had to cover multiple events (some of them even double-booked just to indulge industry friends). As I always tell people, being overly busy is a good problem to have. I’d rather be overworked than not to have any work at all. Be grateful is what I’m saying.

And no part of our job is more active than traveling—both local and international. In three weeks’ time, 75% of motoring media are leaving for the Japan Mobility Show (formerly Tokyo Motor Show). That includes a handful of my teammates at Visor and colleagues at this paper. This event is dear to me not just because I’m especially fond of Japan, but also because it reminds me of the very humble beginnings of my occupation.

The Tokyo Motor Show was my very first work-related trip, and as fate would have it, the company that is bringing me back to the expo this month is the same one that invited me back then—Honda Cars Philippines. That was in 1997, when I had already paid my dues for more than two years. Those were the days when one needed to be an editor or a veteran writer to be included on the media list of “traveling” automotive journalists.

Today, just about anyone can board a plane to attend an event. This, I think, is thanks to “revenge travel.” According to an online dictionary, the term means “leisure travel that follows a period of being unable to travel.” That period, of course, is referring to the global pandemic. Prior to 2023, my last trip had been for a car-audio brand in December 2019. From 2020 to 2022—three years—the only time I took a flight was for a domestic trip. I didn’t even expect to breathe the air of another country until 2024, not least because of my medical condition (I had a stroke in 2021).

This year, our beat has burned a lot of air miles. I have to make special mention of God because He has allowed me to join my traveling colleagues. In late March, I went to Korea for the Seoul Mobility Show. If it had been my only trip for 2023, I would have felt nothing but gratitude for the chance to experience touring again.

But God has lined up more expeditions for me (which, I will always say, I do not deserve…at all). Two weeks ago, I went to Europe to drive a supercar. So, by the end of the year, it looks like I will have flown out of the country three times.

I share this not to brag, but to marvel at the grace that God is extending to me and my colleagues. Invitations to overseas events are currently so many that my teammates are having a hard time fixing their schedules. Remember the above story where I said I had to pay my dues before being invited by a carmaker abroad? We have a new staff writer at Visor who hasn’t even been with us for 10 months, and already he has traveled internationally twice (with another trip this month). I hope he realizes how fortunate he is. Fortunate not for being able to travel for free—he can afford to tour the world personally if he wants, I think—but for the blessing our job affords us.

May we not approach this with an entitled mentality, but with genuine humility, knowing that we are just “tourists” in this world and nothing is permanent. In all honesty, we don’t even know if we can enjoy these luxuries next year. Let’s count ourselves truly blessed and use the opportunity to recalibrate ourselves for the better.

Oh, by the way, I’m happy to report that I’m no longer afraid to take off and fly. Not to sound morbid, but I know now what exactly will happen should the aircraft plummet from the skies.

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FILL YOUR TANK: “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” (Psalms 121:8)

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