Written By: Emma Baldwin
There is some kind of magic conjured up when it comes to traveling. I have so many happy memories of riding in the car with my family, listening to music, playing games, and staring at the blurred scenery for hours on end. There is a sort of unexpected peace in the process. But I know some of you have obnoxious little siblings (I am one) and so have a deep-rooted hatred for road trips. Maybe you prefer plane rides—there is magic up in the sky, too. It’s exciting and humbling to be at eye-level with the clouds. But why are we so drawn to travel? After all, it is a bit of a hassle. A lot of money and planning goes into seeing something we could have Googled. We have safe and comfortable homes to pass our lives in. Why do we leave them? It’s interesting to consider the connection between our identity as Christians and our fascination with travel.
My boss for a traveling summer camp, Brandon Booth, drew our attention to how special it was that we got to spend the summer traveling with the people we loved. He called those moments “glimpses of heaven,” meaning that in those moments, we are reminded that heaven is coming, and it will be even more beautiful and joyful than the things we experience on earth. When I was trying to think of reasons why Christians are drawn to traveling, Mr. Booth’s idea stood out to me. I decided to use the verse about Peter’s describing Christians as “aliens and strangers in the world” in 1 Peter 2:11 pretty much before I thought of anything else for this article honestly because it was easy because so many people reference this verse to talk about why Christians love to travel. Like Mr. Booth says, as Christians, we know that we will get to spend eternity with each other in heaven. Because we are waiting for heaven, we look for “glimpses” of it everywhere. As Christians, we travel because the joy and beauty we experience reminds us that we will soon experience a much deeper joy and beauty in heaven. Mr. Booth believes that we travel, then, to look for more hints of what is coming. Similarly, traveling makes us feel alive. As Mr. Booth taught us, that sense of life and happiness that we feel in the moments when we explore the world remind us of what we have to look forward to in the new world.
Similarly, in a lecture that my dad gives about art, he states that God calls Christians to seek out beauty and to enjoy it. This idea applies to why we travel because we feel this call on our lives and have a desire to see the beauty of the world. Traveling allows us to see all the unique ways that God made the world, and in traveling, we are able to rejoice in that beauty. Sometimes, though, traveling is not just full tanks and sunsets. Sometimes traveling means being stranded in a tiny town in New Mexico (been there), fighting with your siblings in the back seat (done that), or getting lost and driving through way too many detours (yep). But as Christians, we know that God has something beautiful to make out of those hard times. Sometimes I think we also travel to reflect on the rare beauty of the memories that come from the challenges.
I know the reason I love to travel is because there’s so much felicity in it. It’s exciting leaving early in the morning, not knowing what state you’re in, and showing up to a hotel late at night only to wonder if you have been there before. It’s really peaceful. There is so much happiness in sitting in the car as your family tells stories or makes jokes around you. My best friend and I sometimes talk about the feeling of driving through a big city at night. It’s a really happy feeling. It’s silly singing along to Taylor Swift with your dad in the car, and I love it. It’s fulfilling crawling into a fluffy white bed at night and thinking, ‘I wonder what we will do tomorrow?’ There is not necessarily anything super deep I have to say in this section other than to emphasize the fact that God has blessed us with so very much. I know I do not deserve all of these lovely things. And yet, I still get to go on road trips with my family. As Christians, we get to travel, because God is really, really good.
Traveling is an important part of our lives. It may seem unimportant to live on limited clothes, stay in questionable beds, and drive for an unreasonable number of hours. However, there is so much happiness in it too. Traveling means getting to experience a full life of seeing the lovely world that God made with the people you most want to share your experience with. And there is so much left to see!