We have looked at Destination Wedding, Education, and now we will look at Religious Travel. This last in the Purpose Travel Series is certainly the one we get the most requests about. There seems to be a resurgence in visiting the places we have learned about in religious studies, so this travel is often a combination of Education and Religious travel.
The most questions I get are about travel to Israel, or “The Holy Land”. The very first question is “ is it safe”. I have to answer “ Yes – for the most part”. I will expand on that thought in a minute, but first let’s talk about how we got to the point about talking safety. Why are almost all religions visiting Israel? It is a simple fact. At one point, many of the world’s religions called Israel “Home”. I will not name them for fear of leaving one out, but if one reads the history of the country, one finds it has had many names. It is well represented in most versions of the Bible, the Koran, Roman Documents, and almost any World History Book. So many wars have been fought over the land mass, it is impractical to list them all. It is, invariably that fact and the mystery accompanying it, that drives most desires to visit.
Today it still remains divided by religious faction, as you well may know. When you ask how safe is it, I must ask you a VERY disturbing question. How Safe is Manhattan in New York?, How Safe is Boston? How Safe is Paris? There is no question that disagreement over territory and pride still cause outbreaks of strife and some dangerous areas. What did I mean by “Yes – for the most part”. You MUST use some good sense to help insure the best and safest trip you can plan. The US Government will issue travel warnings if an area gets too dangerous, but if you have made your own plans, what will it cost you to change them?
ALL of our vendors have “ boots on the ground” every day. They all have contingency plans in place to change your itinerary, your hotels, your flights, at the last minute to insure your safety. Guides know, daily, where to go and how best to get there. It never costs you to use a Travel Consultant. Why invest all the Travel Time, Expense, and research time on an investment upwards of $3000 per person, when advice, and booking are absolutely FREE?
Travel to Italy still is ranked number 1 destination in the world for numbers of visitors. Religious Travel makes up a very large part of that. Christians generally recognize Rome as one of the more significant centers of Christian religion. For some it may be the place where their religion is headquartered, for some it is where their religion parted ways, for others it is where Their religious brothers are located. Certainly, everyone agrees the collection of antiquities in Rome, and specially the Vatican, is unsurpassed in the world. I still remember the day Barbara and I were just “Church Walking” in Rome. We entered a church we came across, just because it looked very ornate. After stepping inside, once my eyes had adjusted, I was standing next to the crypt of someone I always considered the most famous artist in the world. Tears just flowed freely.
One can travel to Turkey safely these days, to visit some of the most wonderful Mosques in the Free World. You can even choose a cruise that stops in Turkey. Travel to Arab Countries has become more civilized in the last 50 years. Modern buildings certainly outshine older buildings, but wonderful Mosques are still prevalent.
I encourage people of every religion to visit religious sites in Asia. Temples in areas like Angor Wat, Thailand, Cambodia will leave you awestruck. I have found it gives me a greater appreciation for my own religion, to study how others practice their religion. One cannot deny the impact of religious leaders like Confucius, Dali Lama, Gandhi, and others, have influenced the world we live in today.
If you want to know more about any of the topics we have discussed, we are available at your request.
Happy travels no matter what the “Purpose”.