(Photo courtesy of Brittney Perez)
Hope For Timid Travelers
By Brittney Perez
Years ago when I was in high school I remember hearing this said to me, “Travel as much as you can while you are young.” It’s funny because at the time these words didn’t hold any real meaning to me, but as I have gotten older I almost can’t stop hearing them.
Growing up my family didn’t travel a whole lot, at least not very long distances. We went on vacation to the river every summer, but apart from that that was pretty much it. I enjoyed those trips so much and to this day I still look back on the memories, precious times.
Eventually my family stopped going to the river every summer. I think what happened was that desire to go began to fade out. Instead, we started going on other trips. I remember the first time I flew on a plane was to San Francisco in 2010. It was a short flight, but it was fun and not as scary as I thought it would be. I think that’s when I got my first real taste of what it was like to travel.
I’ve always been a homebody. I’m an introvert by nature and there’s something about being home that is comforting. It’s my place of retreat and relaxation; a place I know I can go to when I’m tired of interacting with the world. I think this aspect of my personality is why I wasn’t into traveling that much in high school and my college years. Looking back, I believe my fear of being away from home was also something that kept me from traveling. I would get these feelings of fear come over me. Fears like, what if the plane crashes or something else bad happens?! These thoughts would resound in my mind, and, let’s be real, thoughts like that will purge out any desire to want to leave home and travel.
Fast forward to 2016. Every year the church I attended went to Israel, and in my heart I wanted to go (Israel has always been in my heart to see). But the group that was planning on going that following February had already met up multiple times regarding the trip, so I knew that if I signed up I would sort of be out of the loop. Keep in mind my interest was sparked in November so the trip planning and itinerary was well into its final stages. I was told people could still sign up even though the majority of those going had already booked their flights in advance, etc. I ended up signing up and, though I was super stoked, I also got real nervous. This would be my first trip out of the country and also my first trip that didn’t include my family. I remember at one point questioning if I should go, and at this point I hadn’t solidified anything. I remember one Sunday in particular asking God for a sign if I should go and, no lie, that evening I got my answer. Every Sunday I would read the scriptures of the day and that Sunday evening the Psalm chosen for that day was Psalm 122 and the very first verse read:
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’
This was exactly what I needed to hear. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with God’s peace and love upon reading that verse and the verses that followed. I moved forward with the trip arrangements and sealed the deal. I was ready to go “to the house of the LORD” and I rejoiced with those who were going as well.
Needless to say, I had the best time in Israel. It was such a blessing and a trip I will forever hold dear to my heart. Upon coming home, saying that I had the travel bug was an understatement. I wanted to go everywhere. A year later I made my first trip to the East Coast. My family went to New York and Boston. It was another trip I will cherish forever. I fell in love with New York and actually just got back from another trip there a week ago! I am also going to Europe next summer to visit London, France, and Ireland! I’ve always wanted to go to Europe and it’s crazy to think it’s actually happening! It’s crazy because I went from not wanting to leave home to desiring to go almost anywhere. The Lord has done and is continuing to do a lot in my life.
I want to encourage you to take a leap of faith and allow God to guide you if you have reservations about traveling due to fear. He’s so gracious. Take little steps and allow God to fill in those areas where fear seeks to take up residency. Maybe you have reservations like I did about going on a mission’s trip or wherever it is that you want to go. Trust me, if it’s meant to be, God will give you that peace of mind that only He can give, and you will know if that’s something you should pursue. You may still find yourself battling your own thoughts, but if God confirms something then those thoughts will start to fade away in light of His voice. Happy and safe travels and may God bless you on your journeys!