A man once asked Rebbe Nachman whether he should undertake a particular journey.
The Rebbe answered that if you have a need to travel, you should not remain at home and stubbornly refuse to go. This is because wherever you travel, there are spiritual things you must accomplish in that place.
You must only be careful not to sin while you are there. If you do not sin, you can elevate sparks of holiness wherever you travel.
Even if you are an average person, you will do holy things in each place. You will daven, say a bracha over food, and many similar things. Even the lowliest Jew does holy things wherever he goes.
Each person is destined from Above to be in a particular place at a given time. At that time and place, there is something holy that they specifically must accomplish in that place.
Therefore, when we have occasion to travel, it is for our own good. If we would not make the journey voluntarily, we might be forced to go in chains, as the Talmud teaches, “Jacob our forefather would have had to come to Egypt in chains, but was saved by his merit” (Shabbat 89b).
This is true of every Jew. If you find it necessary to travel, it is a favor from on high. Otherwise, you might have had to be brought there against your will.
Rebbe Nachman told this to an ordinary person, because even the average person accomplishes great things wherever he may go – as long as they do not sin in any way.
Reb Noson adds that the secret meaning of this concept is alluded to in the Pri Etz Chaim, Shaar Keriat Shma (chapter 3), concerning the intentions one should have when recalling the Exodus from Egypt.
So, while it may seem random and unimportant which particular rest stop or gas station we stop at while traveling, we should know and understand that there is purpose and meaning for us to be in that place at that particular moment.
May we merit to accomplish whatever holy task is intended for us wherever we may find ourselves.
(Adapted from Sichos Haran #85)