I’ve always admired people who travel solo, especially to another country. It just seems so empowering and like the person is in a whole other level of solitude.
When I began to even process the thought of me traveling alone, I used work as an alibi. I mean I have bills to pay so I have to go to work to have the money to pay them, right? Truth is, with personal time off, I still get paid when I take off work. So, that’s not a legit reason.
Then I started using being a mom as a cover. Would it really be right for me to go on a trip, that’s not for a true purpose, by myself and leave them? However, the more I tried to make myself believe this I started to see how this goes totally against my mantra of self-care.
As I began to internalize it all, I think I have gotten to the root and I am just… afraid to travel alone. When I see other people who are brave enough to do it, I have this admiration and fear thing going on. I admire it and want to be apart but I fear the unknown.
I realize that any journey (spiritual or earthly) challenges us to trust God by getting us outside our comfort zones. Facing the unknown by visiting a different country, culture and climate, and traveling on journeys gets us outside our box. The flip side is, we have lots of opportunities to grow spiritually as we trust Him through unfamiliar circumstances outside of our control.
According to Forbes, one of the exciting and empowering shifts for American women is we’re increasingly passionate about our quest to travel — with family and female friends, as well as alone... solo adventurers.
Speaking of solos adventurers, I have watched, via social media, the travel of my friend Rochelle with such respect for several reasons:
1. She’s an African-American female.
2. She works full-time but still makes time to travel around the world.
3. She’s a mom and a wife.
4. I admire her courage to see the World, even if it means seeing the World alone.
“For me, traveling allows me to disconnect from everything and everyone else. It allows me to take things into perspective like how far I’ve come in life and how little the problems I go through are, compared to other things going on in the world.”
As another blogger puts it, in the travel industry the quintessential traveler is painted as Caucasian, carefree, and childless. So, the black mom who travels, especially with her Mini-Me(s), is a bit of an anomaly. Rochelle is crushing that anomaly— as she has been on 6 continents and her son who is 14 and has visited 8 countries so far.
“Everyone needs a break sometimes. I take my son on some trips with me but, when he doesn’t go, I am able to have family members look after him. I have a really strong support system.”
Rochelle is on a mission to see as much of the world as possible. Although her attempt to visit Antarctica failed due to the weather, she has no intentions of giving up her mission to step foot on all 7 continents. She has currently visited 6 continents and 22 countries in the past 4 years. Rochelle works full-time but makes excellent use of her time, often jet-setting to several countries on one trip.
“He never questions my trips without him because I take him with me sometimes and, when he isn't there, I speak to him every day. I always bring him something from every country (that’s our agreement lol). Only once was he upset because he really wanted to go to London with me but, two years later, I took him!”
—Rochelle (in reference to her son)
Rochelle states that she has always wanted to travel but it took a mental shift for her to get going. The interesting thing about this statement is that this holds true for any journey. Spiritually, we are travelers and we are on a journey. I had to do the same mental shift after giving God a $30,000 offering and traveling the new journey He sent me on. On my journey I have learned that travel (earthly and spiritual) can get me out of a spiritual rut and give me a fresh perspective. In my opinion, it is because traveling holds a level of discomfort that leads to a greater dependence on Him, which draws us near to Him and it grow us as well.
“Don’t over think it. Just do it. I wanted to travel for years but finally decided to stop waiting on others. I just booked a flight.”
There are many parallels between our earthly travels and our spiritual journeys. Here are just a few:
When you are traveling, whatever you pack in your bags, you will have to lug it around yourself. The same is true on our spiritual journey… baggage will weigh us down.
Don’t be weighed down by the guilt over sins (Hebrews 12:1). We lay our sins and burdens at the cross of Jesus. Christ has set us free from all our burdens (Matthew 11:28).
Nothing goes as planned:
When booking travel and going on trips, things don’t always go as planned. Most of the time our days don’t even go as planned. How often do you look back over that to-do list at the end of the day and realize how little you’ve accomplished?
The same is true on our spiritual journeys. We may have a certain plan for our lives but God is the one that designed us for His purpose and our ordained callings (Proverbs 16:9). In fact, often God interrupts our plans to help us grow in faith as we learn to depend more on Him and His grace.
“Some things you try to plan and they don’t quite go as planned. I figured I would start conquering the things I could control.” —Rochelle
A guide is helpful:
We research things about the area to plan our activities and happenings while traveling to our different destinations. Some of us even use experienced travel guides or rely on the advice of those who may have lived or have traveled to that destination before.
As believers, we have to remember to do the same throughout our spiritual journeys. We all need guides—mentors, other believers, Pastors, etc—that lead us through unfamiliar terrain because they have spiritual wisdom to lead us in our journey. We need other believers who have walked the path before us, to disciple us in God's truth and help build our faith. After all, they know what it's like to lose jobs, to struggle in marriages, to have prodigal children, to have doubts and fears, etc. Spiritual mentors know what it's like to cling to the gospel when nothing makes sense and their wisdom is essential to our journeys. The same is true when it comes to us being spiritual mentors and sharing our journeys. Never be afraid to be a guide and say #ImImperfectToo.
No matter how much you try not to look like a tourist, you still stand out:
Traveling to other places you will stand out. We try hard to fit in and look like we know what we are doing while traveling but inevitably we end up having to stop and ask someone for directions.
We are supposed to stand out in Christ (Romans 12:2). We are useless as Christ-exalting Christians if all we do is conform to the world around us. So often we look at "nonconformity to the world" as primarily referring to the external avoidance of worldly behaviors. However, not conforming is also to be transformed and new from the inside out, starting with your spirit and your mind (Galatians 5:19-22).
Rochelle’s travel tips (Instagram: @whereintheworldis_rochelle):
Unless you put yourself first and take care of you, you can’t be the strong woman you need to be for everyone else.
Whether you’re a mother, wife, daughter, etc., unless you take of yourself, you can’t be your very best for everyone else.
I am a budget traveler so I purchase flights that are on sale and that usually determines my next destination.
Once I have a flight, I research things to do and places to stay.
I usually research activities or things to do before arriving to a destination. I go for the things I can’t do around home first.
I plan activities based on cost, fun, and relaxation. Some days I want to relax and others days I want to be adventurous and try risky activities. If a destination is known for a particular activity or site, I try that also.
I usually don’t plan out every single day of my trip. I leave room in my schedule for activities that are recommended by the locals.
I used to think traveling was so expensive until I actually started searching for flights and figured out how to travel for less. One way to travel for less is to travel during off season. Another way is to sometimes purchase one-way tickets versus round trip tickets. When planning for Egypt, I noticed that it was $1000 less to fly into another country first then buy a one-way ticket to Egypt, from that country.
Pick a place, in or out of the country, and travel Solo! Go and travel the world (earthly and spiritually), sharing the love of the Lord and returning home different than when you set out.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15