Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Letter to a Young Traveller: Eleven Tips (#5-8)

I've revised #5 (there were two separate points), and then added one more tip. Hope you don't mind. Reminds me of Douglas Adam's famous Four Part Trilogies. Here you go...

Read all 11 points by clicking HERE.


Keep in contact with a group of committed Christian people [who commit to you]. Get them to check in with you regularly and ask you tough questions. Maybe the same tough questions each time. And make the last one: "Have you lied about any of the other questions". And seek out some new Christian friends on travels. It is people who make trips memorable. Meet people from other parts of the world who love the Lord. They will hold more influence for you than the view of the Grand Canyon. Seek for it, and pray for it.


As much as you can, go to a protestant Church every Sunday. Plan your travels around it. Then don’t be too critical of it [unless it’s really bad], but bring greetings in Christ’s name from your Church. If you land in one place for a time [which many do], then research churches before you go. If you want any help with Churches, email someone who may know.

7. WRITE HOME IN A HELPFUL WAY (Don't encourage envy)

When you write an email home, don’t write things to make them want to join you. Don’t encourage envy by writing a list of places that you have been and why it’s been the BEST place, and why your friends need to travel so they can be with you, or traveling like you.

Write instead about what things you are thanking God for, and matters with which you are struggling with God. Write about God. Write about people you meet who need prayer. Write about things that trouble you, like sin and injustice, rather than simply the things that are fun.

Write in such a way that you show that you seek a 'better country' -- one that cannot be visited with a passport. Write about life – what you are doing, and give us an inner view on what’s happening. Think about whether you are causing envy. We don't just want pictures of you on a beach. We want to know how you are growing. We want to yearn for the world that the writer of Hebrews speaks about in Hebrews 11:13-16.


Know what you are doing is very 'freeing'! That may be sound good, but it comes with a profound downside. It is important to know that travel often means that you have no real accountability and no real responsibility [except be at the airport on time.].

This may sound good, but responsibility and accountability are what God uses to teach us godliness and humility. It’s what he uses to chisel out in us the life he desires for us. I'm not sure what you are going to be doing, but it’s interesting to note that in travel, your only concern is yourself. You decide what you want to do, etc...

This can give you a distorted view on life. Many come back thinking that this life [working, church, accountability] is the ‘bad life’, and the travel life is the good one. But you will probably learn more in the pain and responsibility of the selfless life than in the pleasure and unaccountability of travel. You may remember more of a vacation. But you will learn more by staying at home.


Pic on Flickr by toomuchcoffeegirl.


onlinesoph said...


7 - that should include facebook photos, status updates and posts.

8 - good advice - it is all too easy to glorify travel over work as the more romantic life.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why it has to be a protestant church.

Genuine question... I'm not making a point

Justin said...

Hi Anon. Thanks for commenting.

It doesn't have to be a Protestant Church. One is free to do as they please. Of course.

But I counseled this young guys (and still would counsel it), because I would say that you are more likely (although not guaranteed) to find a church that stands on the gospel.

That was what I was thinking.

Unknown said...

j-man, just checking in. loving the blog... it's a poor second to chatting in the NYC living room... cass and I are praying for you guys all the time and missing you. The travel tips are really good. Book worthy, if you ask me!
peace, nt

Anonymous said...

While a protestant church probably is the better choice, I agree with research beforehand. Here in Germany i would go to a free church (I know that sounds strange what with luther and all...)

Anonymous said...

As one who has done it, I definately think this is worth a short book, glad to pass on any tips.

Justin said...

Anon -- You how do we get in touch with you to ask you for tips?

I'd be glad to hear more.

Anonymous said...

shall I mail you?

Justin said...

Anon -- indeed! jmoff at hotmail

Unknown said...

I concor with 6 and would like to add that I think one of the greatest joys I have had in travelling is praising God with brothers and sisters of other languages that I did not know personally but knew were my family. Feeling the sense of what it will be like as described in Rev 7:9

No 8 is one of the lures of distance that makes it so tempting and therefore dangerous. this is a very helpful point of advice Mr Moffat.

Leah said...

Many of these points focus on a person who is travelling on their own and aren't really helpful for those travelling with friends. #8 is one example. #5 is a partial example.

#7 - didn't really like that one. When I have a friend who is travelling overseas and they write back, I *want* to hear about what they've seen, what they've done, etc etc. While talking about God is good, if that's all they do, I get bored. We can talk about God here at home, with anyone, at any time. I can't hear about an experience on the canals of Venice or on a cruise in Mexico at any other time, from any other person.

I'm not saying they shouldn't talk about God in their letter/email. Far from it. I'm saying (forgive the double negatives) that they shouldn't NOT talk about what they've been doing on their travels and what they've seen/experienced.