My first trip to Europe was in March of 1992. I found tickets to Italy for $299/person on Alitalia so I bought one for me and another for my dad. Then my sister and her husband decided to join too so we were off. When I returned and talked about the trip, the deal was still on and too good to pass up so my boss booked a trip too.
I didn’t know much about where I was going except the fact that my relatives lived 45 minutes outside of Rome and what I had remembered from history classes (which wasn’t much).
On this trip, I began to learn not only how sheltered I had been but how ignorant about so much as well.
No need to get into all those details but after this trip, I had a new thirst for knowledge and definitely caught the travel bug which forever changed who I am.
You see, unless we embrace other cultures and learn of their ways and customs, we live un-enriched lives.
You may not be able to afford to travel these days but you can travel through books, movies, and other cultural experiences. They will take your mind on adventures that will leave you desiring to learn more.
And if you are lucky enough to travel to another city, state, country, or continent, take my advice – don’t just show up like we did in 1992.
Do a little research.
Learn about the places you plan to see.
Get a pocket travel guide or print pages of infomation off the net to read on your way.
I like to see what the 1000 Places To See Before You Die books have to say about the destinations in our itineraries.
Plan to visit a local church or get in touch with a ministry you can spend a few hours serving with. Even just taking time to talk with homeless and offering them some food or drink will remind you how much you have to be grateful for. I promise it will enhance your trip. I bet those hours might end up being your favorite moments.
And don’t forget the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in the local culture. So take a cooking class or try their known dishes. Ask questions to locals. Ask for their recommendations of what to see, where to go, and of course what to eat.
Each trip will make you wiser than the last and help you grow to be more culturally sensitive.
I believe God desires for us to live in unity so get to know the ways of others here on earth. And if you have the privilege of traveling to some new place, the more you know before you go the better. Travel really will make you wiser.
Embrace the uniqueness of each new spot.
Embrace the beauty of God’s creation.
Embrace the people of the world because we are called to love all of them.
As we grow to know and love our ‘neighbors’ around the globe, we will learn to love better and then we can truly …
“How good and pleasant it is when we live together in unity.” Psalm 133.1
Christ won’t return till the whole world has been given an opportunity to accept Him. Who knows? Maybe that trip will be the ticket to eternity for someone you share your faith story with. That perspective helps change us to recognize opportunities when they come, doesn’t it? It also adds a dimension of knowing our traveling may just be the link to someone’s salvation. Now that’s a super cool thought.
Don’t just travel without keeping this thought at the forefront of your mind – the world needs to know Jesus so help Him be known.
Others need to see Jesus through you.
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