Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Transformative Power of Travel

Traveling away from one's home for vacation or work or vocation can change a person's life.

What is it about travel that does that to a person?

1. Senses are heightened. Sights, smells and tastes are more intense. Memories are "burned" in more deeply.

2. When you are away, the usual cares and stresses of everyday life are gone. You are at attention.

3. Being in another culture helps you see things about yourself and your way of doing things that you take for granted, that you never even think about. It works two ways. It may cause you to confirm your existing way or it may suggest to you a better way.

4. The chance to be with people and share with them and develop new relationships always has assorted benefits.

4. In a different place and environment, one gets a chance to view things from a different perspective. One can rediscover one's self.

6. One always benefits from learning the history of a place and the manner of its people.

I write this based on my experience since I spent the summers of 1970 and 1971, between college terms, in Holland, Germany and Austria, doing church work. The people I met, both the ones native to those places, as well as other Americans, are still vivid in my memories.

I am not only talking about trips abroad. Traveling in northern New Mexico, when I first began working, created a new set of experiences and feelings. The annual trips we made from Arkansas to Michigan to see grandparents while growing up is a part of who I am and what I am. When I was young, even going into remote (to me) regions of the county to smaller country churches, provided me with some memories of a world that has largely vanished and memories for which I'm grateful.

Traveling is an opportunity for spiritual growth.

Here is something interesting which I just came across: 10 Tips for Spiritual Travel. I think all travel can be spiritual if you want it to be.


Mark said...

Travel frees us from petty issues that occupy far too much of our time and energy. It forces you to grapple with the fact that there are many different perspectives other than your own, even among people who love the Lord. It's a sobering and necessary corrective to simple solutions and pat answers.

Steve said...


forestwalker said...

G.K. Chesterton:

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land."

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