Travel broadens the mind and refreshes the soul, and throughout history human beings have been hard-wired for travel, writes Julie Houghton.
In biblical times travel was an arduous business, and none more so than heavily pregnant Mary’s journey to Bethlehem on a donkey that we recall each Christmas.
Thankfully, today we have many more options on how, where and when we travel.
With the winter school holiday break happening around the country, it’s a very popular time to travel with a family.
The children have endured half a year of school, and need a change of scene and a new focus.
For retirees, this is also a popular time for those living in southern states to head north to warmer climes for the luxury of a few weeks feeling the warmth of the sun, when there’s not much of that at home and the days are short.
And that’s the point of travel for some of us—to go somewhere different for rest and refreshment.
Back in the fifth century, Saint Augustine insisted that, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” but philosopher and writer Marcel Proust also suggested that, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
This is good news for those of us who can’t afford to hop on a plane to see somewhere else.
Simply taking a day out of your routine and heading for the countryside with your picnic hamper for lunch and a bushwalk is an easy way to travel and to see new things, without having to leave home for more than a few hours.
Doing different things with the children in the school holidays is another view of travel—taking lunch or afternoon tea to a local park with a playground and an oval is doing something different for the sheer joy of getting out of your routine. By doing this you take time out of the busyness of your lives and allow your eyes to see something different.
If you are embarking on travel that will require many hours in a car, bus or plane, you might identify with King David’s travel story in the Bible.
“The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself” (2 Samuel chapter 16 verse 14).
Anyone who has endured a long journey will empathise with King David and his fellow travellers, but the important point of the story is that at the end of the journey he refreshed himself, as we all do when we travel and discover the joy of our destination.
And that can be true even if that destination is no further than our local park to enjoy the beauty of the world God has given us, with our eyes wide open to appreciate it.