A Catholic’s Dilemma: Travelling During Lent

Despite not being a practising Catholic, each year when Lent rolls around, I still feel the Catholic desire to give something up or do something extra. Facebook, alcohol, cheese, and chocolate detoxes have all been completed in the past. I like to give something up which is challenging to go without and that I know I often over indulge in.

Travelling and Lent: Easy Peasy?

While travelling, you’d think that this would be easy, right? But I’ve actually found it significantly more difficult deciding what to give up for Lent the past three years (the years I’ve been backpacking in different countries). I don’t want to disconnect from technology because it’s a key way to communicate when on the road. As for food and drink, I believe a key part of travelling is experiencing new foods. If I decide to give up meat or cheese for Lent, I am restricted on what I can eat and try while travelling. I like to fully immerse myself in a new culture, which for me means trying all of the food!

In 2015, we were in Eastern Europe and I gave up fizzy drinks. It was a bit of a cop out because I don’t drink many fizzy drinks anyway. In 2016 we were in China, my diet was already lacking some of my truly favourite things (English tea and Cheese) and so it would be silly to say I was giving them up for Lent. Instead, I decided that rather than giving something up, I would do something extra — start to learn Chinese. I did start to learn, but as soon as I had a hectic week of work, my evenings were spent watching TV and writing my blog, rather than reading my Chinese book.

Enjoying a fizzy drink on Easter Sunday along with my egg in Debrecen, Hungary.

What to do for Lent This Year?

Lent 2017 arrived a couple of days ago and I was a bit stuck. However, I’m sticking with the “doing” side of Lent by improving my Spanish. It’s about taking small steps. I’ve committed myself to reading at least one page of our Spanish book a day. I feel good about this resolution and hope it will continue until Easter. I’ll keep you updated!

Have you given anything up for Lent? Do you struggle when travelling to keep up with any religious traditions?

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