The Problem with Traveling

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
–Ernest Hemingway

Over a month ago, I wrote a post on creating not-to-do lists. You can see that particular post by clicking here. One of the items on my sample not-to-do list raised more than a few eyebrows. I had put this on my NOT-to-do list: “traveling the world.” In contrast, many people have that prominently etched on their to-do lists for their lives.

Now to be clear, I’m not against traveling. Traveling can provide us with opportunities to learn, grow, and broaden our horizons. It can also give us a greater appreciation for God’s beautiful creation. I don’t believe there’s anything particular wrong with that. Traveling comes with inherent benefits for self-discovery and personal growth.

However, I wouldn’t put “traveling the world” as part of my life goal or life mission. On the other hand, I find that many people do. Many people want to “see the world before they die.” And it becomes part of their life mission to do so. But here’s what we have to take into consideration. As believers in Jesus, there are a ton of things that we must do before we die that are vastly more important than traveling the world. These things include…

Bringing the good news to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Serving others generously and sacrificially.
Helping to alleviate poverty and injustice.
Making disciples of all nations.
Being the kind of people that God has called us to be.

How about we put those on our to-do lists for life? And doing those things take time and/or money—resources that are ultimately in short supply. Traveling is a luxury. It’s a luxury of time and money. And if we spend large amounts of time and money pursuing the goal of traveling the world, we may find ourselves with none of it left for the things that actually matter in the Kingdom of God.

Again, I’m not against traveling especially when done in moderation and in the proper context. And if we happen to choose not to travel, we shouldn’t feel like we’re missing out. There are far more important Kingdom things to do anyway. And that’s what we shouldn’t be missing out on. But if we do choose to travel, we should first take into serious consideration how that will affect the larger picture—our participation in building God’s Kingdom.

But I really don’t think we should put “traveling the world” in our bucket lists. We should minimize its importance in our lives especially in comparison to the more important things that God has called us to do. God has already defined for us our life mission. And I don’t think traveling the world for pleasure made the cut.