This year, I had the opportunity to travel to three cities in India to visit families who work with my organization. I was so excited when I was asked to go, until I realized I’d be going on my own. I’ve been traveling overseas since I was 14, but it was always with a team, a parent or a coworker. This trip would mean more than 20 hours of airplanes, layovers and airport hotels even before arriving at my first destination. Suddenly, what seemed like the journey of a lifetime became a mess of anxiety.
I would like to tell you my fears subsided as I got on the plane, but they didn’t. I had a blast with the families I met up with in each city. It was the in-between travels that made me doubt myself. It wasn’t until after my 14-hour overnight train ride that I realized I could do this and, in fact, I had already been thriving the whole time.
I might not suggest a trans-India train for your first solo journey, but I strongly urge you to explore somewhere, and to do it on your own. Whether you’re checking out a city near you or boarding a plane to a foreign land, keeping these things in mind will give you the confidence to go.
- You were made to explore. The world is God’s handiwork, including all the places, people and cultures in it. Your curiosity was also placed in you by God. You get to be an adventurer, even if just for a day. Your experiences are gems that you can treasure as only yours, knowing that you’ve seen the world in a way no one else ever has.
- You are never truly alone, even if you’re far away. God is always with you. I have the best conversations with Him when I’m visiting a new place. The sunset is different, and I thank him for its beauty. The food is new and exciting, and I talk to Him about how he’s numbered all my taste buds. Traveling alone can be a perfect opportunity for personal time with God.
If I flew on morning’s wing to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute— you’re already there waiting!
(Psalm 139: 9-10, The Message)
- You grow and change when you explore the world. Traveling with friends or family is wonderful. However, traveling by yourself gives you the confidence boost of a lifetime. Not only does your perspective on the world change, but you are changed by the friendships you make, the words you learn in another language, the pictures you hold in your memory and the stories you tell when you return.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you—it should change you. You take something with you…hopefully you leave something good behind.” —Anthony Bourdain, chef/author/TV personality
I hope you get out there and explore your world! Where will you begin?