Back in our parent’s day, the way you tried to impress your friends and show that you had “made it” was with fancy cars or with big houses.
For our generation, it’s travel.
Every day we are bombarded with social media accounts of travel bloggers, images of acquaintances or friends taking lavish trips abroad, or people being applauded because they took a gap year off to go all “Eat Pray Love”. To be frank, I’m a little tired of it.
Now, let me be clear. I love a good vacation. Exploring new places is fun. But doesn’t it feel like sometimes we’re expected to want to travel and that if we don’t, there is something wrong with us? Doesn’t it seem as though travel has just become a social stamp of approval, instead of truly immersing yourself in the culture and the people? It’s the posture of the heart, not the actual act.
When I lived in New York, people always asked me, “So, where are you traveling to next?”
Um. Nowhere thanks.
Immediately I would feel insecure that I wasn’t planning my next adventure. I felt like I wasn’t “cultured” enough if I didn’t spend all my money going abroad. But I had to be honest with myself. I liked being home. I liked investing in my local community. I liked having a routine and I liked having structure. Travel would often be more exhausting than relaxing and it would deplete me more than fill me up. Besides, if I go abroad, I want it to be for a long time so I can really meet the people, build relationships and contribute back to the community. Perhaps it’s because I value feeling rooted. And perhaps you do too.
And you can stop apologizing for it.
Somewhere along the way I worry that we’ve lost the value of local communities. Of having rich friendships. Of investing in the people where you are.
Like I said, the act of travel is not inherently bad. In fact, I think it’s the best way for us to truly understand humanity and God’s entire design for creation. But don’t let it slip into another way to show off or gain approval from people that don’t really matter. Travel isn’t all about the Instagram post. If you travel, travel to not just gain, but to give as well.