For many of us, the desire to travel peaks when summer rolls around. The scorching heat and the less hectic rhythm that characterises our islands during these months seem to present a valid excuse to slip away to another destination offering various attractions and milder temperatures.
As wemap our trip with the help of travel blogs and booking websites, one particular advice stands out: travel light! Fellow tourists share online tips on how to travel with less. Others discuss how to master the art of packing luggage like a pro. They all agree that checking-in bags slows you down, puts your valuables at risk and costs you time and money. Experienced travellers say over-packing is by far the most common travel mistake.
The lighter we travel, the more we become ourselves and experience a lot more. We have fewer problems when moving from one place to another and are more able to navigate tricky situations. We are less afraid of losing something and are less vulnerable to scams and thieves.
When we travel light, we enjoy more freedom to absorb the surroundings and more flexibility to adjust our plans if and when things go wrong. It becomes more possible to encounter other people, to invite them into our life, or to stop and assist them if the need arises.
Jesus Christ was very clear: Keep it simple
And yet, notwithstanding these enduring truths and sound advice, we still remain hooked to our possessions. The airlines are very much aware of this weakness within us. This is why they lure us in with cheap flights and then hit us with ‘extras’ at every opportunity. They know we are addicted to stuff.
Two thousand years ago, a young man on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea also told his friends that if they wanted to make the best of their journey with him, they had to travel light. He instructed them to walk in pairs and take nothing for the journey but a pair of sandals and a walking stick; no food, no sack, no money, not even a second shirt. They were not to store up for themselves treasures on earth and not to worry about tomorrow or what they were to eat or drink or wear.
He advised them to look at the birds of the air and observe that these do not sow or reap or store away in barns; to look at the flowers of the field and see how they grow and are perfectly dressed. They were to stay in the same house until they leave and if any place did not welcome them, they were to shake off the dust off their feet and move on.
The know-before-you-go list of Jesus Christ was very clear: Keep it simple. You do not need a lot of extra equipment. You and your companions are the equipment. Lay down your fears and cast away your anxiety. Rely on God’s Providence.
Get a modest place and be content there until you leave. When things do not go to plan, refrain from making a scene. Let go of all past grudges and resentment. Always forward, never backward.
Two thousand years later, the advice to travel light remains fresh, pertinent and challenging as ever.
Fr Kevin Schembri is a member of staff at the Faculty of Theology and the Ecclesiastical Tribunal.
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