Adventure Faith Spirituality Travel

Should Christians Do Long Term World Travel?

Or is it too selfish a pursuit?

This is a question I have been wrestling with for a few weeks now. As I’ve spent the last 3+ months tramping all up and down Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, I’ve come to a point where I am mightily fatigued of being a tourist. I’m still enjoying being abroad and exploring, but a part of me really desires stability, structure, and just to feel like a normal person again.

My life for 26 days
My life for 26 days

I feel like I’ve hit the point where I’ve realized, this is no longer just a vacation. This is my life for the foreseeable future. When you’re on vacation you do things like cram as much as possible into a tight time window. You set up itineraries and book flights and make hotel bookings. I haven’t made an advanced hotel booking in over 10 weeks. Even when I crossed into Vietnam and arrived in Saigon at 3:30 am, I just took a mototaxi into the city and wandered around and made noise until someone from a guest house poked their head out. It’s a completely different mindset when you become accustomed to another culture and begin to understand how things operate. You start to lose your fear.

But while that’s all grand and well, some days I daydream about mundane things like going to a park to play frisbee golf. Or Chick-Fil-A, I daydream about their sandwiches. Or even the other day I went to see a Hollywood movie with friends, and it felt really nice to experience something familiar again.


Back home, the struggle was always trying to avoid boredom. Out on the road, the struggle is to not romanticize how that boredom felt and want it back. Because at least the boredom was familiar, it was predictable. You knew it was there if you wanted it, and sometimes even if you didn’t. Schedules and routines felt like cozy fireplaces. When in reality, at the time you thought they felt more like shackles to a life you weren’t entirely sure you wanted.

I suppose “the grass is always greener” aptly describes the traveler and non-traveler’s struggles alike. We tend to want what we don’t have, or maybe even what we used to have. But what we have now is never fully appreciated in the moment.

Hanging Around on Monkey Island
Hanging Around on Monkey Island

And finally, that brings me to the title of this post. Should Christians travel? Specifically solo long-term world travel? Is it possible to have a balanced and thriving spiritual life while your daily life, your bed, and your relationships are constantly changing? Is continual movement the catalyst for growth? Or does structure foster stability which in turn yields deep roots in a community?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, nor am I particularly looking for advice into my personal life. I’m just curious if anyone else has experienced similar thoughts.


For the time being I am resolved to travel a little slower, see a little less and soak up a little more. I’ll let a place show me what is, rather than always running around trying to find out for myself. Because after all, I have a pretty darn good life right now. And while I think our desires morph and change as we get older, gratitude and appreciation for what you have is beneficial no matter your age or what you want out of life.

So for now, I’ll just breathe. Breathe in the moments of life while they’re still here.


One reply on “Should Christians Do Long Term World Travel?”

Jeff –

Now I’m a couple months – and a couple thousand KMs – behind you on your worldwide journey (I’ve only been in Thailand for 3+ weeks now) but I can understand and sympathize with what you’re experiencing already. Being a season ticket holder and HUGE Baylor Football fan, I’m craving gamedays like you’re craving Chick-fil-A… especially with the blackout this weekend #SicOU. But as to your question “Should Christians do long term world travel” I say unequivocally YES! We live in a beautiful world that our Creator made – and to shut ourselves into a 9-5 where we experience the same things day in and day out is a waste of the glory He put around us.

I’ve come across more different people, faiths, and ways of life in the past 3 weeks than I did in the 3 years since graduating from Baylor. It’s been an amazing journey that has put me far away from family and even further from my previous “existence,” which I’m glad for. Now, in all honesty I’m a Christian in belief more than I am in day-to-day action, but I can’t see this journey as anything but a benefit for believers (of any level). These experiences have given me such a larger appreciation for the amazingness of our world, my family, my faith, and the moment that I’m currently experiencing.

For any Christian I would say it’s not just a good thing to do, but it’s your duty to have some first-hand experience of the world so you can understand it more fully. That’s my take, hope your next adventure treats you well.

Happy Trails,


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