Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why do I Travel?

"Contemplate the fact that 'tourism' (the notion of travel for enjoyment) didn't exist until the Victorian Age. Before that time, travel was a chore only endured by armies, refugees, traders, emigrants, and religious pilgrims."
   - Rick Steves' Ireland 2013

These sentences struck me as I read them during my flight from Chicago to Dublin last week, and I've been mulling over them since then. First, I was struck with a slight pang of guilt at the idea of traveling "for pleasure." There seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the idea of leaving ones home and gawking at others' for enjoyment - or at least, that's the image that came to my mind. 

But then, I thought about it a bit longer and realized: I don't travel with the goal of "let's see how much fun I can have today." I travel to learn. I travel to experience things that shape cultures and to submerse myself in the amazing diversity and creativity that God put in this world - both human and natural. 
Dunguaire Castle, Kinvarra, Ireland.

I travel to walk among the remnants of times long past, as a student of history and literature, to gain a better understanding of what the context was really like for the events laid out in history books and legends. I travel so that I can write about my experiences and share them with people who cannot. I travel to gain perspectives far outside my own, to grow a better understanding of the world and the conflicts and complications therein.

But, I suppose I do find these things enjoyable; I love learning, I love writing about and sharing my experiences, I love connecting with people whose experiences are so vastly different from my own, I love widening my outlook on the world. I find those things pleasurable.

Okay fine. I guess I do travel for pleasure after all.

Why do you travel?


  1. Traveling for pleasure is the best kind of travel! Insightful blog, Deanna!

  2. I love traveling for enjoyment of new places, cultures, and most of all people! If there's a ministry component to the trip, so much the better.