Seeking God through travel, adventure

by Alyssa Gapinksi

North Texas Catholic contributor

A couple walks down a street in Krakow, Poland, Sept. 3. The city, once the royal capital of Poland, will host the international World Youth Day in July. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

Alyssa Gapinski

We are officially one day out and in a few short hours, I will be boarding a plane, yet again, to go to Europe. This time, my adventure will take me to Italy, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Three countries I have yet to visit.

My two-week European stint will take place with roughly 200 others from the Fort Worth Diocese, two of whom are my closest friends. We are going not only to seek adventure, but on a spiritual journey as we wander through the streets of Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel, down the cobblestone walkways of Prague, to the home of Pope John Paul II and Krakow — where we will end our journey celebrating Mass with 2 million other Catholics and Pope Francis himself.

I tried to think of a word that describes how I currently feel, but all elude me. Excitement and eagerness? Of course! But I also feel anxious, and my fear of the unknown is slowly creeping in. Isn’t there a word that encompasses these contradicting emotions?

­­Then I stumbled upon it. This three syllable Swedish noun that embraces the emotions I feel before every journey: Resfeber [n.] RACE-fay-ber. The nervous feeling before undertaking a journey; the restless race of a traveler’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation tangle together; wanderlust.

This one word encapsulates an idea of what it feels like before I travel and the rush an adventure provides not only me, but fellow travelers too. It describes the anticipation, which makes one feel alive. It is a feeling I know well and, in a sense, live for, as these are the moments that make me feel closest to God.

Travel provides me with a chance to reflect, seeing where I have come from and the opportunities that lie before me; viewing the world, and my life, in a different light.  My viewpoints are constantly challenged and I grow in appreciation for the life I have been given. I see what a small space I actually occupy in this world. I become humbled by even the tiniest gesture of kindness and patience, as I stop to ask strangers for directions, which are then given in a language I can’t understand. Only to glance across the street and see families and friends laughing over a meal and children playing tag in the park, realizing we are not so different after all, despite any language barriers that may exist. We are all different. We are all the same.

In six short days, my view of the world will shift again. I, along with 200 other people from Fort Worth and another 2 million from the rest of the world, will change and grow in some form or another. I hope you will keep in touch and join us on our journey.

Sincerely,

Alyssa Gapinski 

Alyssa is a member of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Granbury. She is passionate about her Catholic faith, traveling, and enjoys participating in Journey — the young adult group at her parish. 

We are officially six days out and in a few short days, I will be boarding a plane, yet again, to go to Europe. This time, my adventure will take me to Italy, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Three countries I have yet to visit.

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