I mentioned in an earlier post that many years ago I had travelled by train in Europe for a month using an Interrail pass. It was such a great and memorable adventure that I would recommend it to everyone!!!
I had just finished studying at university (polytechnic at the time) and wanted to get away for a holiday. I spoke to a close friend who was also interested in travelling and we discovered that we had similar ideas of places we wanted to visit, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco.
Traveling was something I had always dreamed of doing. But this type of travel, with a rucksack, sleeping bag, sleeping in hostels, or sleeping on the train in different countries, this would be a new experience. This was in 1987, no one I knew in my family or circle of friends had travelled across Europe in this way so I couldn’t ask anyone for advice.
We would be going to unknown territory, travelling by ourselves to places where we didn’t even know for sure where we would be staying. Some friends were concerned for our safety and thought we were crazy to be contemplating such a thing! But one of the lessons I learned was to find the courage to step out of my comfort zone.
We researched and made plans using the resources available to us at the time physical, paper maps, train timetables, and travel books! In those days there was no internet (that didn’t go live to the world until 1991), I didn’t have a computer, and no mobile phone as they were not yet in common use in those days. I read the book “Europe by train”, which was the “Interrail bible”! It was a wealth of information and helpful advice. It gave us guidance, told us of places of interest and how to get there, let us know how to keep safe while travelling, and informed us of cultural and religious customs so that we could be respectful when visiting other countries. It all enabled us to prepare for the journey.
This book reminded me of the Bible. The Word of God has wisdom and advice to help us live better in all areas of our lives. It has been tried and tested by many people who have left advice for us to follow so we can keep safe as we journey through the challenges we face each day. “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105. It would be wise for us to be guided by it.
The Interrail trip was amazing! We visited places we had only heard of and seen on TV, but now we were actually there in person. We visited and saw wonderful icon landmarks in Paris, Venice, Rome and Florence. We looked at art and museums in Barcelona and Madrid. We lay on the beach in Greece and visited historical places we had read about in the bible. We explored the bazars, made friends in Istanbul and enjoyed an authentic and unforgettable experience of a Turkish bath like the locals.
We were blessed to be invited to stay with a family in Fes, Morocco. They welcomed us with open arms and looked after us like daughters. It was the most amazing experience, they were the most loving and generous family. We shopped in the Medina and visited beautiful places in the city. Our month of travelling was one of the most memorable trips I have had, it gave me the travel bug, which I have to this day.
Sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a bit scary, but I believe it is better to try, than look back with regrets and say “if only”.
I would encourage you today to step out in faith have the courage to reach for your goals in life. Be encouraged by this promise found in 1 Chronicles 22:13,
“Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”