Here’s a simple way of looking at the not-so-simple topic of why we travel.
What follows is my sketched infographic on the subject. If you want a more articulate version, check out one of my favorite articles on the subject by Pico Iyer.
The “from” and “to” is pretty self-explanatory.
The approach we take to travel, however, is more complex. I’ve found that many times I look to travel for escape. I run from one thing to find another. I tell myself and others I am living in the moment and “seizing the day.” I choose to ignore the desperate tone in which I say this.
In traveling this way, I sometimes find what I seek. Sometimes I find something else. But I never outrun myself. As the saying goes, “No matter where you go, there you are.” My inner life sticks to me like mud in my sole. What I run from is rarely geographically bound.
An alternative approach is what I refer to as “traveling expectantly.” With this approach, I go on a divine scavenger hunt, a quest for the little clues God leaves all over the place if I have but eyes to see. When I travel with the expectation that God will show up, it changes my whole attitude and approach to travel.
I look and listen more carefully. I’m more present. And best of all, all those things I’m running from? I don’t notice them. I’m too busy looking for hidden treasure in the most unlikely of places.
The “from’s” and “to’s” may look the same in terms of the reasons why we travel. But whether or not we achieve what we seek depends greatly on how we travel.