Given that we’re now two years into the coronavirus, many of us may be wildly anticipating our next travel destination.
After all, travelling out of Singapore is no longer a pipe dream since Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) to more and more destinations have started opening up.
I’ve certainly been thinking about my next getaway as someone who love travelling. Being in a new environment excites me. With so many unfamiliar things around me, I become a child again — curious and eager for the opportunities of the day.
Travelling makes me feel alive, and being able to put a pause to the daily rhythms of life helps me to reflect. Each time I go abroad, I return recharged and with new inspiration.
But I’ve found that travelling isn’t just leisure — it can also be a profound teacher.
3 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ALONG MY TRAVELS
1. Slow down for greater fulfilment
Travelling has taught me to pause, and immerse myself in the environment I am in.
Being in different environments heightens my awareness of my surroundings, such that even when I return home, I carry an increased sense of consciousness with me.
Instead of going through the motions in daily life, accomplishing tasks and entertaining myself — I’ve learnt to take time to observe all that surrounds me.
What results is a deeper appreciation in the everyday things. I notice things that were always around me but had never stopped to appreciate, like the sunlight that casts a beautiful glow on the objects in my room, the gentle rustling of the leaves and the magnificent clouds drifting in the sky.
But more than just appreciating my surroundings, slowing down allowed me to be conscious of what I’m doing, rather than just engaging in mindless activity.
I found this brought me much greater fulfilment — and I think it’s applicable to our faith as well.
Our walk with God is a journey. Are we stopping to reflect, and appreciate the big and little things? Or what God is saying and pointing out to us along the way?
Sometimes, I find that my walk with God can become a routine, and I lose the passion I used to have for Him and His word.
It doesn’t have to be like that when we stop to listen, read and consciously abide in His presence.
2. Simple things can bring satisfaction
I know this is a bit of a cliché, but it’s true!
One of my favourite family vacations was in 2016 when my family went to Melbourne, Australia. The week we spent there was fabulous, to say the least.
For one, I really liked the vibe there. It was relaxing, the weather was nice and there was plenty of nature, which I love. I also really liked the culture there.
With each day well spent, I woke up excited for the next. It was the first time I didn’t want to leave a country.
Are we finding joy in our relationship with Jesus? It’s important for us to connect with Him, setting aside everything else and creating that space where He is our only focus.
But what really made the trip special was the fact that I was with my loved ones. I thought to myself: “How good would it be, if life was just this, spending time together with those who are important to us?”
I found that life was satisfying in its simplicity: just being together in a nice environment, doing everyday things but having a glorious time of it.
There was nothing extravagant about the trip. It was good because we were together, being present with one another both physically and mentally.
That trip got me thinking: in our faith, are we finding joy in our relationship with Jesus?
It’s important for us to connect with Him, setting aside everything else and creating that space where He is our only focus.
3. Discover hidden gems by embracing the unfamiliar
In 2019, I went on a French immersion in Strasbourg, a little town on the border of Germany.
I was there to experience the culture and deepen my ability in speaking the language.
Something I learnt was that many things we hold to be true are subjective.
Take for example the food we eat. Sometimes we like things because they’re familiar, and dislike other things because they’re strange to us.
When my classmates and I were on that trip, many of them missed food back home. As for me, I didn’t miss Singaporean food at all (though this was perhaps due to the fact that I was blessed with a wonderful home-stay).
The food my host prepared suited my palate, being mostly plant-based and very fresh — I’ve never tasted such good salad!
At the same time, there was food that I found peculiar. The textures and tastes were unfamiliar, but well-liked by the people there.
That’s when I realised that many things we deem normal actually need to be acquired in order to be appreciated. On the reverse, things we find thoroughly strange could be wonderful once we get used to them.
So, what we need is to be open to new things.
In our journey of life, God may bring us through unfamiliar pastures. But if we trust our Shepherd and approach new things with an open heart and mind — we may well be pleasantly surprised!
Is God calling you to somewhere or something new?
Instead of fearing the unfamiliar, embracing the unknown might just allow for the discovery of hidden gems in things unexpected!
If you enjoyed this story on travel, feel free to wander over into these other related stories:
- Where would you like to travel to once Singapore and other countries open up further?
- Which area of life do you need to slow down in?
- What are some ways you can experience satisfaction in the simple things of life?
- What’s something that’s unknown or unfamiliar in your life? Jump right in (with some discernment)!
- Know someone with a little wanderlust? Share this article with them.