How many times have you checked a map this month? As revolutions roil across Africa and the Middle East, how often are you hearing names you can’t place? It’s a great time to revitalize our personal engagement with the world—building relationships one experience and one person at a time.
THIS WEEK, we’re urging readers to get “Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel,” by veteran travel writer Judith Fein. You’ll meet her in our weekly in-depth interview, but you may already know her if you’re familiar with Spirituality & Health Magazine or National Geographic Traveler. Today, we’ve got an excerpt from her book of compelling stories about travel.
BUT FIRST, ReadTheSpirit is very much in tune with Fein’s approach to world travel. Here are some of our own popular stories exploring our planet …
Pilgrimage to Iona
Four years later, readers around the world continue to enjoy our first travel series in 2007, which took readers on a pilgrimage to the legendary island of Iona off Scotland’s Atlantic coast.
Readers also continue to visit ReadTheSpirit for our 2008 series from Asia. Although much has happened around the world since then, this series was the first time we published names and anecdotes about important online activists such as Hu Jia and Isaac Mao. Their future work depends on global awareness, because both are vulnerable to repressive forces. This multi-part series from Asia also included silly stories, colorful anecdote and media news.
Exploring America in 40 Days and Nearly 10,000 Miles
Leaping ahead to 2010, parts of our American Journey series reached millions of readers, in particular the story about a church in Los Angeles that welcomes dogs along with their human companions. That story was picked up by a wire service and republished coast to coast. Here’s an index to highlights among the dozens of stops we made in the American Journey series as we logged more than 9,000 miles in 40 days.
Excerpt of ‘Life Is a Trip’ by Travel Writer Judith Fein
You’ll enjoy all 14 stories in “Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel,” which you can order through Amazon now. We recommend this book for your own enlightenment—and possibly for discussion in a small group this spring. Think about this! Get a circle of friends to read this book together and we guarantee you: Soon, you’ll all be planning an adventure. Between these covers are door-opening ideas.
To give you a feel for Judith’s work, here’s an excerpt that captures her overall theme:
When I am walking and talking with a friend, I sometimes imagine for a moment that we are in ancient Rome, wearing togas, walking in the shadows of a temple, having the same conversation. I am sure that our human essence has not changed over time. People have always complained about their children, their leaders, their parents, their spouses, their work, repairing their homes. They triumphed and failed. History is about people as much as it is about events. I think that the more deeply we penetrate history, the more we understand both.
Some folks learn history from books, others from TV or the Internet. Sometimes it comes through the oral tradition and is passed down in stories and legends. To me, the most powerful and direct way to get involved with history is through travel: wherever I go, I learn about the people who live there and where they came form. I learn all I can. I immerse myself in a culture and try to absorb and remember everything people say about their origins, ancestors, heroes and heroines, migration patterns, mistakes, triumphs, defeats, trading, leadership, allies, enemies, warmongering, peacemaking, challenges, and adaptations to the ebb and flow of existence. I listen because I am inspired by their history and mystery. I listen as though my survival depends upon it because I believe it does.
Every time I travel, every time I encounter people whose lives and cultures are different from mine, I am amazed at how their existence on this blue marble we call Earth adds depth, breadth, perspective, meaning and joy to my own life.
We want our international conversation to continue
Conversation is far better than the dangerous shouting matches we’ve been witnessing in our global culture. So, please, email us at [email protected] and tell us what you think of our stories—and, please tell a friend to start reading along with you!
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(Originally published at readthespirit.com.)