Interesting op-ed on the New York Times a few days ago about travel. It's a fairly high-minded piece about how modern travel has become "ordinary" instead of the "epic journeys" fabled in literature. It's true that not many travelers "embark on journeys of mythic significance" quite like the fictional ones of Odysseus or the real life ones of Marco Polo. Thankfully, it does not take months to cross and ocean and one's life is not usually at risk even in coach class on a Boeing 747.

I believe that some people still travel in search of lofty goals — experiencing new cultures, seeking understanding of their heritage, finding inner peace and spirituality. But the authors totally lost credibility with me when they suggest that meaningful travel is somehow different from "mere tourism." Simple getaways that have absolutely no cultural or intellectual pursuits can still work wonders in people’s lives. The rest and renewal that comes from a few days at a resort can be extremely important to people who work difficult and stressful jobs the rest of the year. Any family time together making memories that strengthen bonds between brothers, sisters, parents and spouses is time well spent. Mere tourism? I think not.

Each person is the sum of several things including: The gifts given to them by God, the values passed on to them by parents and other sources, and the experiences of their lives including the places they’ve seen and the people they’ve met. When we see new places — whether it’s a culturally significant place like the Acropolis or the simple beauty of a mountain sunset — it adds something to our worldview and thus to who we are. That makes travel interesting and valuable, whether you’re visiting an exotic, far-flung destination or a neighboring county. Journey on, my friends.


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