There is a final one, called: "Letter to a Young Traveller: Ten Reasons to Travel."
You can read them all by clicking HERE, and scrolling down.
I'm not dissing on travel per se. I married an American and so I travel. I'm just offering some weaknesses in the reasons we Christians give for travel. And if we have weak reasons, perhaps a moment of pause is worth taking. There may be 10 reasons to travel. It's worth thinking what those reasons are, and owning them before your good God.
Here are my top 10 reasons not to give for travel:
1. “I’m going to 'find myself' In France”.
You find yourself in God, not Paris.
2. “I want to be free from responsibility for a while”.
Freedom from responsibility almost always brings about selfishness. [Doesn’t it have to?] God is kind, and already gives us Sabbaths and Holydays, which is why we get 4 weeks holiday a year (2 in the US), and a Sunday each week. To go away for more than that is, to quote an old minister of mine: 'A long time without accountability'.
3. “I don’t like ‘X’, and a plane trip away is my ticket out”.
Where 'X' is something you hate: work, a relationship, life, debt etc. The trip is a means of escape. The problem is that you always take you with you. 'Escape' is not the answer. Trust in God is.
4. “I just want to see if I can rely on God on my own”.
The Bible doesn't endorse lone pilgrimage as a means to growth. On the contrary, it says to trust where you are. What you presently do it the key to spiritual growth. 1 Cor 7:17-23:
Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.There was a time [during period of the Roman persecutions], where to stay in community despite persecutions and serve the Body of Christ in a spirit of sacrifice was the only means to grow. Now [in a period of spiritual lethargy], we think that the only way to grow is to Go?
5. “My girlfriend/boyfriend is traveling, and I want to join Him/Her”.
Traveling with just your partner [or even in a small group] is a married activity and it belongs in marriage. I have thoughts in this related to Genesis 2:24. It was worth hearing the argument. Get married, rather than travel with just your mate. People often say: but its OK, we won't be tempted. My answer: Then why are you dating? But my biggest concern is what it signals to younger and less mature Christians.
6. “I need to see Europe before I die etc”.
This may not be true. It is worth pondering what you think the New Heavens and the New Earth will be. I think that this may be a statement of mistrust. I will explore the ‘Riviera’ God has planned in the age to come. The only reason to say this is that deep down you do not believe that you God's Heaven will be good. C.S Lewis in The Weight of Glory:
‘Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’7. “I have already booked, so I have to go.”
If it isn’t right for you to go, do not assume that simply because you have a ticket that you should go. Don’t blow your life on $3000. That’s like parents of a bride saying to a young bride who knows its not right: "you have to get married; you have the reception booked."
8. I've saved up $10,000 for Travel. I have to go.
See Point 7. Money cannot be the driver of your decisions.
9. Americans know how to do things better than us.
10. “My experience of life is too limited. Exotic Travel is something I therefore have to do”.
Certainly, there is value in seeing more. St Augustine famously said: "The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." However, I think that this is and will always be true of each of us, all the time. It will even be true of you after you come back from your European Vacation. You probably ought not to see travel as the answer to this. Isn’t the BIG experience of life found in knowing God? Isn’t that exotic?
Pic on Flickr by moandia.