Meaningful Travel Basics: Traveling Expectantly Part 1

by Steve Brock on October 25, 2010

When you travel with expectations, places like Ephesus can seem like just a pile of rocks. But when you travel expectantly, you never know what you will find…

In the last entry, we explored how expectations can inadvertently lead us to an unwanted destination: the land of disappointment. But I have discovered another way to journey, one that minimizes expectations. It’s an approach that has revolutionized how I travel. 

The alternative to traveling with expectations is to travel expectantly. Semantic difference? A clever twist of words? Perhaps. But traveling expectantly is as different from traveling with expectations as a dogfish is from a doghouse. 

When we travel with expectations, the focus is on us. We’ve created the scenarios in our heads, projected the outcomes, mentally mapped out the experience – often in exquisite detail. But it is all based on us and on our own imagination. 

Traveling expectantly flips that notion and puts the emphasis on God. In this form of travel, we venture forth looking expectantly for God to show up or at the very least, to reveal to us what we need on any given day or trip. Internally, we shift from an unconscious demand from our situation to satisfy our expectations to a hopeful, almost childlike request of God to lead the way and surprise us. 

When we travel expectantly, we travel open, looking to receive what God will bring to us. Traveling expectantly becomes one vast spiritual treasure hunt lived out in the gritty physicality of a new place with no expectations of what we will find, only the anticipation that it comes from Someone who loves us and knows what most delights us.
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 I’ll tell you a story about traveling expectantly in the next entry, but before we go there, take a moment and ask yourself these questions:
  •  How much do expectations play a role in your life? One way to tell is to look at how often you get disappointed by people, events or places. Disappointment is a key indicator of high expectations.
  •  Have you ever done a God hunt? You can do this at home. Take a day or even a few hours, and look intentionally for God in everything you do. Look for “divine appointments” or curious encounters. Chances are, you’ll notice more “coincidences” and be more attuned to small surprises. This is really what traveling expectantly is all about.
  •  Do you really believe that God will show up? No, this isn’t a trick question. We believe a lot of things in our heads but don’t live them out. Do you actually believe that God can enter the here and now and orchestrate events in your day or on your trip? The more you truly believe that, the more you’ll be able to travel expectantly and trust that God will come through.

Ultimately, it’s all about trust and that’s not easy for most of us.

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