Travel can create an environment  to explore one’s inner self and to have the experience of reflecting on the life journey.  Socrates is attributed with the saying, “an unexamined life is not worth living.”  Travel can, and most often does, challenge beliefs, patterns and approaches to life.  The experience of travel, combined with reflection, stimulates the interior journey in order to find the meaning one seeks.

M. Scott Peck writes,  “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”  Travel can make one deeply uncomfortable and in this discomfort, bring about a pivotal experience.

The pivotal experience oftentimes comes at a moment of vulnerability, when one must embrace a new thought or a new experience.  It helps to remember that a pivotal experience can lead one to greater entrenchment, by refusing to engage in the growth possibility, or it can lead to great growth, as one embraces the challenge and moves forward.  The pivotal experience can lead us backward or cause us to move forward, but it is impossible to remain the same.  Once  one has encountered a new experience, change happens.

A friend of mine has the goal of climbing all of the 14 thousand foot mountain peaks on the North American continent.  This is a lofty goal [pun intended], but as I told him, it takes greater courage to take the interior journey than it does to climb those mountains.  He agreed.

As I traveled through Taiwan and Japan, I came to new understandings of myself and what I  believed.  I began to have a deeper awareness of the spiritual realities that were vastly different from my own.  I developed a new understanding of what Romans calls the “elemental spirits of the universe” (Colossians 2: 8, NRSV) because the folk religions of Taiwan are filled with examples of the elemental spirits.  My encounter with that culture gave me new insights into what I had come to know as idolatry, and, I was mystified when I saw the temples with a statue of Jesus amongst all of the other gods represented.  I was challenged to reflect upon my own belief system and to reflect upon the good Lutheran question, “What does this mean?”

I was not there to condemn the beliefs I saw being expressed.  If asked, I would certainly give my understanding, but for my own growth, I was called to sit and examine these beliefs as a way to better understand my own. 

Even a local tour of churches can bring about self-reflection and be steps on the interior journey.  Going on a church retreat offers strong opportunity for growth.  The point is, one must be aware of the pivot points as they come and use them to launch into new depths of interior wonder.


1)  Pray for a commitment to listen to the views of others and the ability to engage in conversation that leads you to understand them more deeply.

2)  Pray for the ability to reflect upon your own views and to ask “what does this mean?”

3)  Reflect upon the presence of God in these encounters as a means to see and hear more clearly the work of the Spirit in your own life.

Recent Items

  • The Loneliness Factor

    I was at a luncheon that was serving as a listening post for seniors to describe their sense of loneliness and isolation. I knew that the population invited to this luncheon was one that would probably have a higher sense of isolation, but, what I heard was much more intense than I expected. A man […]

  • Social Networks and Aging

    It is interesting that research is showing two demographics experiencing social isolation in such as way as to impact health: Young Adults (18-22) and Senior Adults (65+). I have worked with both populations over the past 50 years and I continue to be amazed at the similarity of the questions raised by both groups and […]

  • An Eye-Opening Awareness: One More Transition for this Guy

    I sat at a luncheon two weeks ago that opened my eyes to a reality that I knew was there, but as the discussion unfolded I began to realize how the discussion, about to take place, was going to expand my thinking. As I listened to the needs of the people with whom I shared […]


    When it comes to the human condition and a desire to change, we can become easily frustrated: we think that we want to change … but we really don’t. Paul expresses this contradiction well in Romans 7:15-24: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do […]

  • The Crisis of Loneliness

    THE NATIONAL CRISIS CALLED LONELINESS From “LINKED IN” “America is becoming Isolation Nation. Nearly half of respondents to a nationwide survey by health insurer Cigna say they always or sometimes feel alone, and 54% say they feel no one knows them well. Such loneliness is connected to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death. The […]