A Traveler’s Religion Could Be Traveling

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Today, I read an article on Vagabondish.com that got me thinking in more existential ways than one. It dealt with the meaning of religion and its place in a traveler’s life — which belief-system a traveler relates to, what was the most commonly found practice of couchsurfers, if travelers are more in tune with spirituality, etc . . .

There is no doubt in my mind that with more people ebbing and flowing through borders, humans, in general, are not only gaining a better understanding of different religions, but are discovering philosophies that better represent their internal ideals. One observation that the article makes is that a majority of travelers tend to relate to Eastern ideologies or have no religion. Wright infers that traveling is correlated with Buddhism because “Buddhism and most Eastern religions utilize the oldest tool available for study: the mind, and how best to reach its potential.”

Perhaps Buddhism and atheism are the closest possible boxes to slot travel into, either searching the soul with the help of a faithful hand or feeling individually empowered. However, I would think that trying to define “why we travel” religiously takes away from the essence of it.

I think that traveling qualifies as a type of religion for today’s day and age. It offers various motivations and different sects.  There are some who look at traveling as a checklist, those that look at it as an adventure, others who are just trying to run away from the monotony of home, those just trying to find a new home, and those who are truly searching for enlightenment.

Followers also choose different rituals and experiences to idolize, as well as to gain, either a sense of awareness or anxiousness in their selves — or both. Some need to collect cool keychains, some stockpile sweets, others take thousands of pictures, and some just bring back stories.

Just like religion, there is not right or wrong way to travel, especially if you gain or shed your original beliefs in the process. It’s just humans being humans: curious.

By Brit Weaver


About the Author

Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.

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