Published on September 17th, 2013 | by Reverend Dave Brown1
Let’s Take a Trip: Rick Steves and Travel as a Spiritual Act
One of my earliest memories about travel is not an actual trip but a children’s TV show.
The show was Let’s Take a Trip, it was commercial free and on the air from 1955-1958. Many Sundays at 1:00 in the afternoon I would sit on the floor in front of our black and white TV in anticipation as the the song came on: “Let’s take a trip. A trip is fun to take. So pick a place you want to go and that’s the trip we’ll make.”
Host Sonny Fox took Ginger, Pud, and his audience on a half hour adventure, usually in the New York Metropolitan area. I loved it and I think it contributed to a lifelong love of travel. Let’s Take a Trip introduced children like me to new places and more importantly to a way of travel that was more than escape or sightseeing.
On each trip you encountered a new place and new people. You learned things and were often changed by the things you learned. Let’s Take a Trip encouraged viewers to get out from in front of the TV and go places.
I think that is what Rick Steves does today, with Rick Steves’ Europe on public television and on his radio show Travel with Rick Steves. We join Rick as he takes us around Europe introducing us to people, places, and a way of travel that is more than escape or sightseeing.
Rick invites us to engage and interact. His approach to travel nourishes the heart, mind, and soul. Like Sonny Fox did a long time ago, he encourages us to get out from in front of the TV and go places.
Marcel Proust once wrote that “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” I think he was right.
Travel is part of my life and spirituality; travel feeds the spirit and helps us see things in new ways. Connecting travel and spirituality isn’t just about going to sacred places. It is about the way we are present to the places where we travel. It is about cultivating openness in our heart, mind and soul as we travel so we can be nourished, engaged, or challenged.
Travel and spirituality also connect because travel can help us remember and affirm the basic humanity we share with other people. Maya Angelou once wrote, “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” I agree with her as well.
On September 22 at 5 pm Rick Steves will be speaking at the Pantages Theater on Travel as A Spiritual Act. It is a benefit for a Habitat for Humanity build in Guatemala. As well as raising funds for a great cause, it is my hope that the evening with Rick Steve’s will be a catalyst for conversations in our city about travel and how travel impacts our lives.
If it is in living rooms, pubs, faith communities, or while walking on Ruston Way, let’s talk; let’s have a community-wide conversation: How has travel touched you and influenced your world view or your spirituality? Does one trip stand out?