Before my first trip to England in 2014, I had never been out of the country, never straying too far from my hometown. Now I've been to England, Scotland, Wales, and Israel (and if it counts, I've walked around outside the Geneva airport and gazed upon the Swiss Alps), which may not sound like much, but it's hopefully just the beginning. Because the more travelling I do, the more I am convinced the travel life is the life for me. And here are five reasons why...
travelling is knowledge.Travel is one of my chosen forms of higher education. When I travel, I am learning every day. I am meeting people who are not like me, encountering foreign cultures, discovering history, immersing myself in newness. It is a massive, hands-on learning experience. Each person is different, for me I would choose touring Edinburgh Castle or walking along the Jerusalem wall or poring through Westminster Abbey over studying textbooks any day.
travelling is humbling.
I fall into the trap of getting comfortable in my own bubble and forgetting there is actually a world out there. My way is the only way, right? I don't need to change! This perspective shifted drastically once I stepped outside America. There are thousands of people and cultures around this globe, each of them unique, each of them bringing something different to the world. I don't know everything. I don't always know the right way. I still need to learn. Going to Israel, my first visit to a non-English-speaking country, put me in an extremely vulnerable position, as I was completely lost regarding the language, etiquette, and society. I had to be willing to grasp as I went, to follow, to be confused. Travelling urges me to be quiet, observe, and learn.
travelling is bravery.
Travelling brings out my brave side. I will try just about anything. Case in point: I have a terrible fear of the ocean, yet I splashed around in the water at Tel Aviv beach. Which sounds totally lame, but for me it was a big deal! (Though the sinkholes around the Dead Sea? WHO SAID THAT WAS OKAY.) Just the adrenaline of being in a new place, a new country, a new everything, pushes me to be adventurous. I challenge myself to conquer that fear, to strike up a conversation with that stranger, to reach out, to be fearless. I'm no longer satisfied with what's easy. I'm ready to branch out and be bold, even with something small like stepping foot in the ocean.
travelling is adventure.
Let's be honest.... travelling is just plain fun. The excitement and unknown thrills me down to my fingertips. Walking the streets of Jerusalem? Eating new foods? Jumping on trains and catching flights? Stumbling upon hidden gems? Snapping photos in front of Buckingham Palace? Yes, please.
travelling is trust.
I did not know what it meant to trust God before I booked an international flight and took off across the world by myself. True, I was going to stay with friends, but it was my first time overseas and I was alone, stripping away everything familiar, everything safe, everything comfortable. I researched what I could, but honestly, I had no clue what I was doing until I was in the middle of it. It was overwhelming and a lot to take in, and I could not have done it without Jesus. For the first time, I truly put my everything into His hands, trusting Him to protect me and guide me through His will. In a lot of ways, my solo travelling experiences have helped me discover what it truly means to be a follower of Christ, to fully submit and surrender to Him, and for that, it will always be a precious experience.
I am so thankful I've been able to live the travelling life, and I am eager to see where this new year will take me. I'm sure any of you travellers would agree with me. But for those of you who haven't made it far beyond your hometown, I would strongly encourage you to pack your bags and just go. Learn. Grow. Listen to what God has to teach you. Be changed. Explore. It's worth it.
What have you learned from travelling? Where have you been? Tell me your stories.