Over the past 4 years, I’ve traveled to 12 countries. I’ve ziplined in Argentina, hiked up a volcano in Costa Rica, and eaten waffles in Belgium. In short, I think it’s safe to say that I’m living the millennial’s dream. On my travels, I’ve racked up frequent flyer miles, learned foreign languages, and made irreplaceable friendships. However, of all the lessons that I’ve learned while globetrotting, one thing remains: travel does not satisfy you.
Recently, a wanderlust- struck fellow travel aficionado published the article titled “I Love You, But Travel is my Soulmate,” in which she reveals the pain associated with leaving loved ones behind. There’s an indescribable feeling inside of her, one that moves her to abandon her home and explore the world. As much as I can relate to the writer’s desire to travel to unfamiliar places, I disagree that travel could ever be a “soul-mate.”
Here’s what I’ve learned about travel:
- The best part of travel is making new friends: Because travel can lead to unpredictable and often uncomfortable situations, it make us more vulnerable. Nothing facilitates the growth of new friendships quite like overnight layovers or staying in youth hostels. Meeting people from all over the world reminds us that essentially people are the same and it teaches us about ourselves.
- Travel is not going to fill you: As a Catholic, I believe that God made us out of love so that we could have a relationship with Him. Until we are perfectly united with Him in heaven, our discomfort and sense of longing are insatiable. As much as I love travel, spending time in prayer with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is what my heart really needs to be filled. I think that young people, especially we millennials, tend to think that our longing for something more in life is a manifestation of a desire to see the world, but I think our yearnings are an indication of the desire to know our Creator.
- Most of all, travel is not a “soul-mate.” The paradox of life is that we are called to give up our lives so to fully live life. Like Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” We are called to make full gifts of ourselves just like Jesus did on the cross. Travel cannot be a soulmate, because only people can give and receive love.
Do you have the desire to travel to foreign countries and experience new cultures? Go for it! Just don’t forget that ultimately travel can not satiate a restless heart.