In this past year, 365 days, I've traveled to more countries than some people have ever dreamed of seeing in a lifetime. I've traveled by plane, boat, train, bus a car and interacted with countless strangers. I have included a few of my travel photos today, which include destinations from France, Belgium, Italy and Scotland. For the opportunities to travel, the places I've seen and the things that I've learned, I'm extremely grateful. All of this being said, at the end of the day, no matter where I seem to go, I have noticed a couple things that seem to be universal almost everywhere.
The first thing that has really stood out to me is that no matter where I travel, at the end of the day, people are people. It sounds so crazy simple, but I think that sometimes we get so sucked up in our own lives that we can forget to take a moment to truly see the people who surround us. Everyone has a story, and beneath the surface, each one of us is seeking to meet our day to day needs. In just about each city, every country I seem to discover the same things. I've seen children, running, laughing and playing together. I've passed the young woman looking exhausted, the person rushing because they're late, the hungry baby crying, the man begging on the street, happy couples. Humanity.
The second impacting discovery that I've made during my travels is that seeing new places doesn't make your life any better. What?! Yes, experiencing new places is really great and doing so sure makes for cool moments and great memories, but at the end of the day, you are still you. Don't allow yourself to bank your life's happiness on that next big trip. It will come and it will go, but at the end of the day, you will be returning back to every day life. If you are filled with joy before you leave, you are almost guaranteed to find it around every corner of your trip and will find it waiting for you, when you return home. On the contrary, if you feel empty or unfulfilled, travelling won't fix that. It might give you a great time, but in the end, it really won't fill any of the voids.
All that being said, we must to remember to take time to tend to our personal needs - to help ourselves to grow as people and to make the most of each moment of our lives. Sometimes it's about learning to forgive ourselves, being reconciled to others or even to God. We can travel, we came move, but these things shouldn't be a way to escape, they can't be. They just won't do it. What we truly need, at the end of the day. is to find peace in ourselves and peace for our souls.
When you find peace with God, peace with yourself and peace with those around you, be you near or far, you too will find peace there.