I will admit that I am a travel nerd. I love to travel. I always have loved to travel. I remember when I first started working for Jay Sekulow we were constantly on the road. We would fly out of town on a day trip and not return for three or four days. Or we would return from a trip and before I could get home I would get a call from the office telling me to come back to the airport for the next trip that had just been moved up.
Jay used to tease me and say, “Joel, you are the original vagabond. Have bag, will travel.” It was a true statement.
I am such a travel nerd that I used to plan trips that I was not scheduled to take. I would plan the air travel, the hotels, the trains—including their scheduled departure times, what sites we would see, and even plan where we would eat.
Now, I am planning trips that people are actually taking. We have already done two trips to Israel and are organizing five more trips, three to Israel, one to Greece, and one to Germany. I want to spread the love of travel to more people. I want to help everyone I know learn to love to travel.
Why do I love to travel so much? Other than the fact that it is in my blood, I have little to do with that, I love to travel because I am a naturally inquisitive person. I want to know what is over the next hill, what is around the next curve in the road. There is nothing more exciting, and sometimes a little frightening, than going to a new place and seeing something I have never seen. Experiencing a place I have never experienced before.
The second most exciting thing I can think of is to go back to a place and reexplore its sites or see a new part of a city or a country. I love to climb up onto Mars Hill in Athens, even though I have been on top of the hill numerous times, again and experience Athens from above as if it were a new city I have never seen. I never tire of that view.
I am not a people person by nature. Don’t get me wrong, I like sitting around and talking to people I know, but I do not like meeting new people. I am a bit of an introvert when it comes to meeting new people. You would not know it because I am also very outgoing if I am in charge or if I am in a room full of people I already know and am comfortable with. Having said that, I love to go to a new place, especially a new country, and meet people from a different culture so that I can learn something about what it means to live in their world.
I am greatly interested in what it must be like to be a German, or an Israeli, or a Greek. What is it like to wake up every morning in Greece with Greek language running through your mind? What is it like to work in Germany? What is it like to start your day every day in Germany and then take a day trip to Salzburg, Austria?
The closest I can come to that feeling, to understanding how those thoughts work, is to travel to Munich and take a day trip to Austria. The closest I can come to understanding what it is like to be an Israeli is to travel to Israel and interact with Israelis. Ask them questions about what their days are like. Ask them questions about where they shop for their food, where do they buy their clothes, where do their children go to school. These things help me better understand what life is like for other people and that satisfies some level of curiosity I live under.
Another reason I love to travel is much like what I have heard that drug addicts deal with everyday. They are always trying to achieve the feeling of that first high. The second high and ever high thereafter is not as good as that first high. This principle is not true with travel. With travel I can experience the same level of high every time I travel. Every time I go to a new place, or revisit an old place, I experience a travel high that cannot be matched by anything else in life. That is what it means to have wanderlust. The lust of wandering.
I am also someone who enjoys trying new things at the table. I love to eat what the locals eat. One of the best things about traveling is that you get to experience the local food with the locals. There is no replacement for bratwurst in the Hofbräuhaus. You can go to Aldi and buy the German sausages and grill them, use German mustard on them, they are not the same, the experience is not the same. You have to be there to experience the sensation. There is no substitute for being there.
One of the greatest reasons I love to travel is to meet new people. Traveling abroad erases so much prejudice. It gives us a better understanding of what everyday life is like for others. When we see people living in their own world we can have more compassion for their plight in life. It also helps us to better appreciate how good we have it as Americans. I have found one principle to be true beyond anything else. It is impossible to hate people that you have come to know and share experiences with. That is what helps make the world a better place for all of us to live.
That is why I love being there, I can only experience the excitement of life abroad by going abroad. I can suck up the fear and the anxiety and experience a piece of this world that God created for our enjoyment.
If you are thinking about traveling and would like some more information, contact me at [email protected]. You can also ask to sign up for our travel newsletter (we are beginning it soon) and to keep up with tours that we are currently planning. We can help you make memories to last a lifetime!