During uni, lots of friends routinely packed up their bags and went on back packing holidays around Europe or America - I stayed home, hung out with friends and was content with the usual year end family holiday.
Talking to a friend online that day, I was surprised by his reluctance to travel - surprised but also reminded of myself at that age. I warned him that once work started, time would become a precious commodity and that travel was an important way to see the world, broaden his horizons and to learn independance and survival skills. I can't remember if I told him this, but if I didn't I'm saying it now: I deeply regretted not having travelled more during my university years. I regret having stifled that part of myself and that I lacked the self awareness to realize the restlessness within. The regret over travel is part of a bigger regret - of having wasted so many years thinking someone else's thoughts and trying to live another person's dreams. Those were prime years for learning, trying stuff out and yes, travelling. So much of what I do now, I wish I'd been brave enough and confident enough to try out then - dance, diving, travel, learning a musical instrument etc etc.
Thinking about it more though, I've come to realize that I associated travel, activities and learning with the idea of living fully and wisely and the two strands don't always go together.
I have several very wise and gentle girl friends that I turn to when in need of advice and I've been grateful for them. But it came to my attention recently that two of them have never lived abroad and one of them rarely travels.
It made me realize all over again that the accretion of skills and knowledge do not always lead to wisdom. My friends are wise (although not always gentle when scolding me about my silly shenanigans!) because they are planted firmly in the fear of God. In other words, they know who God is and who they are and have spent years learning to think God's thoughts after Him and learning to live out the faith.
They may not be super brand name uni grads and they may have lived in Singapore their whole lives but I would trust their assessment and opinion on any situation at any given point in time - above and beyond the opinion of supposedly "smarter" or more "worldly" folks.
There's still much I want to do. White water rafting in NZ/Australia, trekking and travelling around SE Asia and Europe, learn jazz dance and languages. But these are the people who help keep me grounded, who'll scold me when I take on too much and who are so highly allergic to fools that I'd be warned well in advance if I tried anything silly. These are the people I want to become.
I'm still restless and God willing, I'll be able to travel and see much much more of the world but by the grace of God, I'm no longer the will 'o' wisp, blown hither thither by passing gusts of wind but becoming more and more like that tree, grounded and planted by streams of water.
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.