Culture

A different kind of solo trip

Tiffany Goh // January 3, 2019, 2:21 pm

Solo travel

I had a month of free time between changing jobs, so I finally decided to do something I had always to – take a solo trip overseas!

Such trips had been gaining popularity at the time and I was drawn to the adventure that it would bring. I wanted to explore the world. I wanted to know I could do it. Just me and the world!

I wanted to make the most of this rare opportunity. So I booked myself a 3-week trip to New Zealand, a land I had never been to before, but whose breathtaking nature I had always wanted to bask in.

Armed with the hashtags #newzeason and #gohingsolo (a play on my surname “Goh”), I boarded the plane on a January night, scared and excited at the same time – It was the most daring thing I had ever done.

The trip turned out to be the adventure of a lifetime! I had many epic experiences in those 3 weeks.

  • I saw pods of dolphins diving in and out of the ocean gracefully.
  • I hiked for 4 hours while my phone was off the grid.
  • Cooled by the fresh spray of the waves, I kayaked on emerald waters flanked by mountain ranges. 
  • I watched children jump from a jetty into a shallow lake teeming with ducks and fishes.
  • I sat in a field of red, white, pink and yellow roses, with a great book in hand.

But if I were completely honest, even though I was surrounded by beauty all the time, which made me feel bouts of happiness, interspersed with wonder, amazement and appreciation, it didn’t bring a deep sense of joy or satisfaction to me.

My heart was not overcome by a fullness I had been searching for. I noticed that but didn’t dwell on it — too prideful to admit that my grand adventure did not do all that it was expected to.

Travelling was supposed to be an elixir to life, something to fill one’s emptiness. I travelled 10 hours by plane to a country of gorgeous landscapes, but failed to find whatever it was I was looking for.

Shortly after I returned, I started a new season at a new company and got caught up in the rhythms of busyness.

Then after two and a half years, I sensed God calling me out to the next chapter. So after much deliberation, counsel, prayer and fasting, I took the step of faith and left my job.

It’s been 3 months since I started my sabbatical. “Are you going to travel?” has been a common question that people ask. “If I were you, I’d use the time to travel around the world,” is the advice I hear from some.

I had indeed considered using the time I have now to travel, but I keep sensing God saying no. Stay where you are and spend time seeking Me. That’s what I sense He says.

Exploring the greater world of good

And so I’ve been doing just that. I’ve been spending extended periods of time every day worshipping God. Seeking His face, not just His hand. Worshipping Him just because. I find myself getting lost in His presence, wanting to continue dwelling more and more in worship.

And the beauty about my current season is that I actually can! There is no need to check the time, no need to rush off to bed, no need to finish after a certain time to meet other deadlines. Now, I have so much time to just soak in God’s presence. I really have been loving it so much.

I have experienced a deeper intimacy, the growth of an authentic relationship. My eyes have been opened to issues I never knew I had lodged inside of me, and I am sharper when it comes to hearing from God.

Just recently, during worship at church, I saw an image of a lampshade I have on my table at home.

The lampshade has a hand-painted picture of a tree-lined river winding into the distance. When the image flashed in my mind, it reminded me of my solo trip. “What is it about my solo trip?” I asked God.

This season, now, is a different kind of a solo trip. In that instant, there was a download of revelation into my spirit. The meaning of what God said hit me.

In the past few months, though I have chosen to physically stay put in Singapore, I have been journeying around a “new land”, an intimate secret place with the Father — somewhere I have not been before.

I have been exploring “new places” in His throne room, pressing in deeper and deeper as I sit at His feet and worship. I have been enriched by new experiences of His kingdom and have seen and heard new things!

True rest requires solitude

And the result of that has left my heart so full. My heart swells and throbs as He ministers and speaks to me. My heart sings as I soak in His presence. My heart dances as extreme gratefulness for this season washes over me.

There is a deep sense of fullness that rises from within. I feel pure joy. Joy bubbling from deep within, deeper than the feelings I felt while enjoying and admiring the beauty I experienced in New Zealand.

The truth is that there is so much more that our hearts have been made to feel. There is a much deeper sense of joy in Christ that we have been created to experience!

Feelings of happiness, fascination, thrill and pleasure uplift us momentarily, but Christ offers a deeper, fuller joy that endures regardless of time or circumstance.

"Take a real rest": Flowing with the unforced rhythms of grace

In this different kind of a solo trip I am now on, there is no breathtaking scenery, no mountain ranges to traverse, no turquoise waters to sail on.

Most of the time I am simply at home, on the floor in my room, seeking God. But guess what? Through just soaking in God’s presence, my heart has been romanced and washed with a deep sense of contentment.

And I didn’t even need to get out of Singapore to feel all that!

Feelings of happiness, fascination, thrill and pleasure uplift us momentarily, but Christ offers a deeper, fuller joy that endures regardless of time or circumstance.

What I’ve learnt is that finding fullness and contentment doesn’t require a plane ride overseas, a beach holiday, or an amazing road trip — all of which our society glorifies. These are recreational activities which bring fun and a good time, but there is something else that brings a deeper contentment and joy.

In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Through Jesus, we can have fullness in life that goes deeper than the physical. Jesus is the “bread” that nourishes our soul, more than actual bread fills our bellies!

So how do we go to Jesus?

We can start by regularly making space in our lives to spend time being still and worshipping Him. I play songs and I sing along to them. No need for an agenda, no need for a list of prayer items.

All that’s required is just to sit, quieten our hearts, and worship Him. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself immersed in His presence. Psalm 16:11 tells us that “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus says that Mary has chosen the good part by choosing to sit at His feet and soaking in His presence instead of busying herself elsewhere. It is easier to give in to busyness, than it is to go against the current and create space for God.

If you have been feeling like you’ve been running on empty, or if you’re feeling like you’ve been trying so many different things to bring about that feeling of satisfaction but can’t seem to sustain it, would you consider ‭creating some space, and carving out some time?

Take a solo trip with Jesus today.