Travel & Spirituality
By Fedorah Philippeaux
I am discovering now that travel can have a variety of different impacts on your spirituality. In using the word spirituality, I am not merely referring to one’s faith but also one’s overall outlook on the self, life and world philosophy. Traveling to far-off lands, seeing with your own eyes the beauty of nature all around us, be it in Cambodia or China or Japan, can all alter our perceptions of the world.
I was fortunate enough during my travels in Beijing to visit the Forbidden City as well as the Summer Palace. Walking where emperors once ruled and visiting the vast and scenic lakes, gardens and palace grounds which were once intended to be the summer playground of the Qing Dynasty emperors was breathtaking. Pictures simply cannot capture the beauty of the palaces I visited. It’s during times like these, walking next to a beautiful lake in the Forbidden City or climbing a mountain at the Summer Palace, which I stop and think about the world and its creation.
Not only do I ponder as to the nature of God, but I also contemplate that vastness of the earth; the people, the places and the things that make each place special and unique. I am truly in awe during such visits at the many things man was able to build and create so long ago. It is through the discovery of new lands that I begin to realize just how big this world is and just how much of it I have left to see.
I believe that traveling and visiting different countries can allow you to connect spiritually to other beings. Not just other humans but it can allow you to connect to the other creatures in the world. Imagine for instance, spending a day with your very own elephant in Thailand. You get the opportunity to feed it and talk to it and spend time with it in its natural habitat. Or perhaps you are lucky enough to visit Szechuan Province in China and pet a baby Panda for the very first time–it makes you realize that we are not alone on this earth and that we must do our best to protect the environment and the world around us because we share it with others.
If you never leave your home country, how will you ever truly understand the connection between people all over the world?
How will you ever realize that despite barriers such as language and culture, we all fundamentally want the same things. The different people and places of the world have awakened my curiosity and led me to want to travel even more. The more I see, the more I long to see. There is nothing like walking in the footsteps of history, to awaken the spiritual side of us and cause us to truly begin to understand the world in its complexity.
Born in New York but raised on 2 different continents with 3 different cultures, Fedorah is an avid traveler. She is of Haitian descent and is fluent in all 4 of her native languages; she is currently learning her 7th language. She has a Bachelor's in International Relations and hopes to someday work for the State Department. She enjoys singing/performing, learning new instruments, reading, travelling and Politics. She spent the last year in China, teaching English at Qinhuangdao University in Hebei. She is currently working on her Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies based in both the UK and Germany.