I Just Want to Travel!

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By Joey


Life, as far as Xiaoyou was concerned, was all about travelling. “How could anyone not like travelling?� she often asked. Visiting different places gave her so many unusual experiences, she would add, and opened her eyes to the fun to be had around the world. There was skiing in South Korea, for instance. Coming from a tropical country, Xiaoyou was ecstatic to see snow for the first time in her life. Perched at the top of a gentle hill, surrounded by snow drifting in a winter wonderland, she gasped in delight at the magnificent valley below her. 1

“What are you waiting for?” her friend yelled excitedly. “Seize the moment. Let’s go, go, go!” Then there was the trip to Kyoto, Japan, which gave Xiaoyou a chance to see the country’s famous cherry blossoms. It did not come cheap: during this season, flights and accommodation commanded premium prices. But as she strolled under a living umbrella of vibrant pink and white blooms, Xiaoyou knew the experience was worth every dollar. “Why not?” she told her travel mate. “I’m still single, I have the time, and I can afford it. Life is short: enjoy the moment!” 2

And then there was the crazy trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. Watching the ribbons of colour pulse and swirl about in the star-studded sky overhead was a dream come true. She had questioned her impulsive decision to take a few days of unpaid leave, displeasing her boss in the process, but now she had no regrets. “Even if I lose my job,” she explained to a friend, “I can always find another one. If I miss the Northern Lights, there might not be a second chance.” Xiaoyou was convinced that nothing could replace the thrill of seeing and trying new things. Having grown up in a small town in Malaysia, travelling was especially meaningful for her.


She looked forward to every holiday with great excitement and anticipation, wondering what she would see next. In the past five years, she had visited no less than 20 countries and tried many daring things her friends had not. Scuba-diving? Done. Mountain trekking? Done. Skydiving? Done. “Life is a canvas that should not be left blank,” she often told her friends. “It should be filled with colour, so that we don’t live in vain.”


But Something’s Missing And yet . . . there was an inexplicable emptiness within Xiaoyou that even the best holiday couldn’t seem to fill. While each trip gave her much happiness and a sense of accomplishment, she couldn’t help but experience this strange feeling of loss. On returning to routine life, she would think about how much fun she just had, but she couldn’t shake off a hollow feeling, as if life was meaningless. The enjoyment of the trip never lasted long: something always 5

seemed to be missing. It was like having a full meal, only to feel hungry a few minutes later. Xiaoyou would try to fill the gap by planning another trip. She would try to read up on the next destination and plan what she wanted to do, but the emptiness wouldn’t go away. It was at times like these that Xiaoyou’s colleague, Yi En, would come to mind. The two girls were about the same age and had much in common. Yi En also loved to travel—but couldn’t. Her mother was disabled, so she needed to be around all the time. She had to make do with short weekend getaways, and would never see the places and do the things that Xiaoyou did. All she could do was listen to Xiaoyou’s stories of her latest adventure and pore through her photos. Yi En, a Christian, would talk about the wonder of God’s creation every time Xiaoyou described something amazing. When she saw Xiaoyou’s photos,


she asked, “When you

saw these magnificent mountains and rivers, and the Northern Lights dancing in the night sky, did you ever think of the God who created all this? Just

like when we see a beautiful castle, we know there’s a great architect behind it!” Yi En’s questions made Xiaoyou stop and think. “Does this beautiful world really have a Creator?” she would wonder. More than that, she wondered how her friend could seem so joyful and contented even though she couldn’t travel much and had to spend most of her savings on her mother’s medical expenses. “How does she take it?” Xiaoyou asked herself. “Isn’t life about working hard and playing hard? How can Yi En stay so happy when she can’t enjoy the money she earns? How does she fill the emptiness that I feel?”


Filling the Emptiness There was a king in ancient

Israel who, seeking satisfaction and enjoyment, spent a lot of time and effort pursuing pleasure. “Come on!” he said, “Why not eat, drink, and be merry?”


In the end, however, this king found that all the wealth and pleasures of the world could not satisfy him. He realised that life was like a sigh that came and went, and everything would turn to dust in the blink of an eye. All the food and drink, all the pleasures of life, and all the striving just could not fill a deep emptiness and bring real contentment and joy. 9

Isn’t that what some of us, like Xiaoyou, have found? Like her, we want to have as many experiences as possible while we are still able to, and live life to the fullest. There is nothing wrong with this, but we are aware that ultimately, this pursuit cannot satisfy us completely: deep inside, there remains an emptiness that cannot be filled. Perhaps we’re looking for a purpose, significance, or meaning in life. Perhaps we want to know why we’re here on earth, and what we’re meant to do.


Where can we find this purpose and significance? The 17th-century philosopher Blaise Pascal once said that there is a Godshaped vacuum in the heart of every person. This hole, he said, cannot be satisfied by any created thing or experience—including travel; it can only be filled by God the Creator. Without

God in the picture, we cannot find lasting satisfaction in our lives.

Another king who lived in ancient Israel understood this simple truth. He too had wealth and power, but was aware that ultimately, they would not give him true satisfaction and security. He also lived through some hard times: repeatedly betrayed by those close to him, he spent much time fleeing his enemies. Yet, whether his circumstances were good or bad, he knew where to find true joy and contentment. Like a child seeking his parent’s reassuring embrace, he kept looking to God, believing that only God’s presence could satisfy any fear or emptiness in his heart. He once said to God: “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11). 11

Consider Jesus So how do we go about looking for God? The amazing thing is, God is just as keen for us to know him personally. Some 2,000 years ago, he came to our world as a man, Jesus Christ, to show us that only God is the true source of hope and joy. 12

If we turn to God and follow him, we will begin to get a new perspective of what life is really about, and discover where we can find true satisfaction and significance. We will find that these don’t come from something we have— such as achievements, possessions, or experiences—but from knowing God himself. That is why Jesus said this of himself: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). 13

Have you struggled with a feeling of emptiness that nothing can fill? Do you feel hollow or purposeless even after enjoying an amazing overseas trip or some other hobby? Do you ever wonder, “Is that all to life? Is there more?” Consider seeking out the Creator God. Like Yi En, you will discover that knowing God personally will change your entire perspective of what true satisfaction and fulfilment is. You will discover a deep, fulfilling sense of purpose—not from travelling or accumulating experiences, but from living life knowing who made you and why you are here.

© 2019 Our Daily Bread Ministries. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 14

Do you want to know more about Jesus?

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