Traveling and the Meaning of Life

Travel, travel, travel.

Or that’s what we seem to hear all over the place. If we travel, we learn culture, broaden our horizons, expand our mind. Yes, that’s all true. Traveling is great, don’t get me wrong. But there is something beyond travel as a goal. Traveling is not really an end because as travelers, we are observers not true participants. We observe culture when we travel; we don’t create it.

And we can’t observe forever. Eventually, to have a meaningful life, we must settle down and dedicate ourselves to something, to a worthwhile project and task, one that will last a lifetime.

And yes, we really do have to work at something. Vacation is fun, but only as vacation. To whittle away the hours and just relax is only truly good as a break, not the main event. Like any business, we humans must grow or decline. There is no holding still. We either move forwards or backwards.

Often, it’s a job. We take a job and work to rise the ranks and make something out of the company.

Often though, it’s not a job. Very frequently, it’s one’s family. Family–the rearing of children–is a most enduring life project. It’s one that requires many energies and creative faculties from managing a budget, entertaining young ‘uns, maintaining a household, fixing, making, cooking and most importantly–loving. Raising kids demands command of our own emotions and goals.

For other people, the life project is different. But it must be work. Simply enjoying is fun but it isn’t a life project and ultimately enjoying and observing doesn’t bring fulfillment.

The work of a fulfilling life project, whatever it is, demands settling in a certain way and dedicating oneself to a place and the people who live there–whether it’s a house and neighborhood, a family, a religious community or something else. Life’s greatest project requires that we commit to a place and a people and work for its, our and their betterment.

When the tourists come to our neck of the woods, then we will be creating the culture that they will observe.

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