Some years back, I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. While many had said that it felt like a feature-length “Just Do It” advertisement, the constant theme of “stop dreaming, start living” throughout the movie struck a deep chord within me.

This is life. I thought.

Exactly five months after the movie, inspired to have my own Walter Mitty experience, I embarked on my first-ever solo trip to Taipei. I was 20.

For the first time in a long while, I felt courageous. I felt free. I felt alive.


The 21st century young adult’s mind is often found wandering. We scroll through our Instagram feed decorated with beautifully curated travel photographs by our peers. We look with admiration and envy. We grow disillusioned, restless, sick with everything in the here and now.

At some point, my default homepage on my browser was an airline website. I spent great lengths of time staring at my annual calendar, seeking out cheap airfare deals and travel blogs.

Such is the fickleness of wanderlust: A flicker of a thought, a few frames from a movie, what could happen once we get to the place we’re lusting after.

We believe that everything will be perfect if we could just be there.

I soon realised that in desiring to always be somewhere else, I was constantly discontented with my current location.

After my first solo adventure, my fulfilment was short-lived. Within two weeks, in sober dismay, I was counting down to my next great escape.

I rationalised with myself: You deserve a break! This will be a healing trip. You will come back a different person! You need this!

But I soon realised that in desiring to always be somewhere else, I was constantly discontented with my current location.

10 days away from my parents would give me a breather from their nagging. A week away from work would help me to destress. But all in all I knew I was running away from my reality. I was taking the easy but temporal way out of my problems.

And yet after every trip comes that same familiar feeling we all know too well—a painful slap back into reality, where our physical body returns but our minds are still wandering.

It hurts more than ever to be facing the same old problems where we’d left off. Our minds start wondering if only I was somewhere else again. If only, if only. The cycle repeats.

We are here, but never present. It’s a very sad reality.


Our inclination to wander can overflow into other areas of our lives. The desire for a new lifestyle, a new home or country to live in, or even a new identity. We may start to lose ourselves. We start to wander away from God’s heart.

We ignore what God has already given us and grumble to Him for what we do not have – that’s discontentment.

Discontentment, when unmanaged, when full of entitlement, is a dangerous thing.

How, then, do we learn to be content?

The secret to contentment is actually very simple.

Paul shares his experience and secret from the prison, that “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

This is the key to contentment.

Discontentment, when unmanaged, when full of entitlement, is a dangerous thing.

While travelling can offer one a momentary sense of freedom, abandonment and independence, it is only the truth of God that can truly set us free from any kind of bondage. The truth of His love, grace, majesty and glory.

The truth of how He fully knows us.

In this glorious truth, He invites us to live, breath and exist fully in Him, that we’ll never hunger or thirst again.

God gives us more than what travelling can ever offer. It’s of a deeper, more abiding nature — far more valuable and priceless than any flight deal, Airbnb stay, or Walter Mitty quote.

Today, I choose to be present. This is really living.