Atom Araullo reflects on starting over, courage, and the power of social media
MANILA, Philippines – Atom Araullo is no stranger to adventure, or to taking risks. The journalist and TV host has found himself raising his voice above strong winds in the middle of a storm, submerged in the deepest oceans and in a common city sewer, and atop the highest mountains.
Before 2017 ended, however, he embarked on a different adventure that involves a great deal of risk. He left ABS-CBN, his home network for over a decade, and transferred to GMA-7. He also decided to live on his own, leaving his parents’ home.
We asked the 35-year-old Araullo how he has grown in the past months, and he admitted that his choices have prompted numerous life changes.
“I just try to take it one step at a time. I have a great support system. My family is very supportive. I have my friends. But at the same time, you realize that there’s so much more that life has to offer and maybe it’s just a matter of grabbing opportunities, and also not being afraid to make mistakes and being accountable for your actions, which are all part of being an adult.”
“I’m not sure if I answered your question correctly, but in a sense, I feel like I’m doing things from scratch in a way, and it’s a good feeling. And like I said in an earlier interview, not a lot of people get the opportunity to reinvent themselves and kind of say that I want a new challenge, even if there are no assurances I’m going to succeed,” he said.
“I think that’s what makes life interesting – that we can constantly build ourselves up and say ‘I want something new, I’m going to take a leap of faith, and I’m just going to go for it.’”
Atom acknowledges that like other people, he feels insecurity and self-doubt. But he did learn something new about himself: that he is more courageous than he ever imagined.
Courage is something he needs for his new show, Adventure Your Way, a crowd-sourced travel show where destinations and challenges are gathered from audience suggestions on social media.
Regardless of the seemingly daunting feats, however, Atom appears ready to take on anything.
“You can define courage in a lot of different ways. I certainly don’t back away from physical challenges. I like doing all these extreme things. But courage also has a lot to do with making tough decisions – tough life decisions – maybe in your career, personal life, family life. And I’ve had to do a couple of those as well.”
“That’s the law of nature. These tough decisions come in waves. It’s like a Pandora’s Box; if you start taking risks, you’re gonna have to take bigger and bigger risks along the way. That’s how you know you might be doing something worthwhile. That’s also how you know you might be doing something that might lead to utter failure, but you know, that’s where the courage part comes in."
Social media to make a difference
Atom acknowledges that engaging in social media can be draining sometimes, but because the nature of his work requires him to stay on top of breaking stories, Atom allows himself to browse social media extensively.
He also believes in social media’s capacity to make a difference in the world. (READ: #GiftofHope: Atom Araullo on why Filipinos should care about the Rohingya)
“I’ve always thought that it’s a revolutionary tool and it’s still changing, and we’re changing along with it. Sure it has its pitfalls as well, but for the most part, it’s not going anywhere. We just have to figure out how we can use it to benefit our lives, to enrich our lives” said Atom.
He sees Adventure Your Way as an avenue through which social media is used for good; not just to entertain, but also to share experiences with others.