Monday, March 28, 2011

My "Philosophy" on Travel

Travel is a great many things... but to me, here are some of the reasons I encourage those around me to jump at opportunities to travel:

  • It's a chance to break the routine of everyday life
  • If you let it, travel can be an exhilarating adventure, an adrenaline rush, if you will!
  • You get outside of your comfort zone
  • It forces you to make decisions:  Where will I go?  How will I get there?  How long should the trip be?  How many people are allowed to come?  Will I take the north route or the south route?  How often do we stop?  Will the schedule be packed full of activities, or peaceful and relaxing?  Hot, cold, or somewhere in the middle?  How much money am I willing to budget for this trip?
  • You will have an opportunity to experience new cultures, even if you're staying in the States.
  • You will have an opportunity to see new landscapes.
  • If traveling abroad, you will have an opportunity to learn the basics of a foreign language.
  • You can learn new, practical skills like map-reading, hotel-booking, food-finding, bargaining, etc.
  • It may come as a much-needed break in the craziness of life.
  • At one point or another, you will most likely have to rely on someone else's knowledge to get you from point A to point B, thus humbly admitting you're not from "around here".  (Trust me, even with a GPS, downtown Washington, D.C. or the freeways around L.A. are a beast).
  • If you seize the opportunity to, your creativity can flourish and blossom in the midst of the new adventure you are embarking on.  Take hundreds of photos... pack your guitar in the trunk and have a jam session at a rest stop or mountain top... find creative ways to pass the time in the car... explore local art hubs... video-document your trip.
  • Embracing your freedom can uplift your soul & provide you with a renewed sense of energy and motivation
  • You'll have PLENTY of opportunities to see God's beauty in all of creation.
  • You can re-kindle friendships from the past... use it as an opportunity to visit college friends, old roommates, camp buddies, previous co-workers, or people in ministry!
  • Inspiration to write, read, sing, play, document, capture, explore, etc. may return to you
  • It will broaden your world view and help you become less focused on yourself, and more focused on other people.
  • You will see things that take your breath away.  The Grand Canyon, the beach at sunset or sunrise, the view from the top of a mountain, a beautiful waterfall, wild animals, a never-setting sun during midsummer at the artic circle, trees that you can drive an RV camper through, water clearer & blue-er than you could ever imagine, miles and miles of untouched desert land scorched dry by the sun, man-made architecture that is sheer genius, a city skyline at night, historical battlefields where so many died, and so many other amazing and unique sites.
  • You will, almost unavoidably, see people who are hurting, poor, ill, homeless, or spiritually broken... and you just might have the opportunity to do something positive to change their lives for the better.
  • If you choose to, you can learn a ton about the history of places you are traveling to.  I'm not particularly a history buff myself, so this is a major weak spot of mine when I travel... but I find that if I take the time to better understand a place and it's history, I feel like I've had a much richer experience.
  • You will learn to interact and socialize with many different kinds of people.
  • If traveling with family or friends, it will teach you patience, but it will also be an amazing opportunity to create memories together & find each other's "traveling strengths"  (Who can drive at night?  Who is good at navigating?  Who knows the best cheap hotels to stay at, or tourist locations to check out?  Who makes the best playlists to listen to?  Who can best motivate the group to stay energized & make the most of your time away?)
  • You may run into someone from your hometown or alma mater, or realize you have a mutual friend... and in those instances, you realize just how small our world is.
  • It challenges you to think more positively when plans fail or change drastically. (Especially when you're in the middle of Paris, have had a visit to the emergency room, don't speak any french, and have to say goodbye to the rest of your backpacking friends while they continue on to 6 weeks of European adventures and leave you to spend 5 of those weeks in another tiny town above the artic circle, in a foreign country, alone).
  • You learn to become a better packer.  (What do you really need?  Did you save room for a souvenier or two?)
  • The opportunity to discover local music, cool venues, idyllic coffee shops, or antique stores filled with little gems becomes exciting .
  • Memories, memories, memories.  Ones that you will never forget!
  • You learn to appreciate the comforts of home: ice cubes, clean water, a comfortable bed with washed sheets, wireless internet, lower gas prices, a closet full of clothes, the familiar places, salad dressing (not joking), and friends & family.

So there you have it. These are the reasons I love to travel... and why I would encourage you to let yourself travel, or even force yourself to travel! It's pretty much impossible to miss out on God's creation when we experience life outside of our own little bubble. I am certain that nearly every trip I have gone on, I find myself in awe at some point when I look out on the beauty of His creation, or incredibly uplifted & encouraged when I see the body of Christ at work in other places throughout the world. It's amazing what all you can see and experience if you open yourself up to it.

My "philosophy" on travel.

And speaking of travel.... here are just a few photos from my travels so far in 2011....


  1. Wow...didn't know that those were your exact feelings about the Europe situation. Left you alone, did we?

  2. Haha, oh Val. You know it was nothing against you girls... just a very sad, frustrating, and disappointing situation! Thank goodness my time in Jokkmokk turned out to be really great! But, I did miss you the whole time... I found my journal the other day... pretty depressing reading the first few entries from my days in Sweden haha!

  3. you are invited to follow my blog