The Joy of Traveling – Part I

Traveling and living like the locals.

Open the door to your rooftop garden from your renovated medieval apartment in Corato, Italy and the morning sunshine isn’t the only thing to greet you. As the first church bells of the day ring throughout this medieval town, you are also greeted by the cooing lullaby’s of pigeons as they swoop from rooftop to rooftop. Other birds join in the cacophony of song that serenades you as you sip your first cup of true Italian coffee. The smell the blossoms of the orange tree growing in the corner reminds you of the orange groves back home, yet different because you know you’re in a different world. Three stories below you at street level are the sounds of the cycling wheels of the worker riding his bike to work. You can see the shop owner setting up the displays of fruits and vegetables outside his shop that opens up onto the town’s piazza. You know that you’ll stroll by later and take a closer look at all the bounty on display from local farmers. Even though you are completely comfortable, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation about what sensory adventure you’ll discover this day.

Everybody has his or her “go-to” comfort experiences when you’re looking to change your circumstances, to yank yourself out of a slump, to jumpstart you out of a cold winter, to re-energize your perspective when it seems the world has gone mad and I’m no different. Sometimes it’s just taking the time to cook my favorite Italian onion soup and having a great glass of Brunello di Montalcino. Other times it’s finding a local musician and just absorbing the authenticity of the shared vibe. And then there are times when I just have to travel.


Traveling is one of those all-time great experiences that just fills a need in my soul like nothing else. Traveling brings me tremendous joy. I have traveled my entire life and I never find it boring and it never gets old. So as I’ve been reflecting on all the experiences in my life that bring me joy, I have to share my perspective about traveling. And it’s probably not what you’re expecting because I’m definitely not into checking off sights on a tourist checklist.

As you read this series of travel stories I want you to think about your favorite travel story. There isn’t a person on the planet that hasn’t had some amazing experience that just brings a smile to your face every time you think of it. I want to encourage you to share your story in the comment section below, so if your creative story telling kicks in at any point in this story, please just zoom right to the comments section and share your story!

And before you ask, while there are plenty of stories in the Bible about major adventures involving travel and movement from place to place, the modern idea of traveling for pleasure is a relatively recent phenomenon for the majority of the world from a historical perspective. Traveling was generally done with a sense of purpose, like a pilgrimage or from a motivation like getting away from persecution or fleeing a country due to famine or other harsh conditions. It is the modern age that has afforded us the means and transportation modes to turn travel into almost an expected annual right of breaking from the tedium of work.

You can check out the most relevant scripture compiled by Knowing Jesus1 that relate to travel if you want to get a better feel for the Biblical references that involve travel.

I just got an email announcing the Traveler’s Choice Award for the “#1 Landmark in the World” for 2016.


Clicking through to the page describing the landmark it was predictable to not only see Machu Picchu, Peru as the selection, but it went on to share the Top 25 Landmarks2 around the world. This is the ultimate checklist gone mad and this just doesn’t do it for me when I’m looking for a travel fix.

Yes, it’s interesting and all that, but it’s definitely not how I get joy out of my traveling experiences. #4 on the list is St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy, where I’ve been several times and there’s no doubt it’s impressive. I’ve climbed the dome and walked the underground, but the most memorable experience was when my son, a Deputy Sheriff traveling with us on a family trip, made a connection with a Vatican guard who took him into the Vatican police station and exchanged stories of what’s it like to live and work in Vatican City. The bond of peace officers from around the globe was really fascinating to witness and to see them exchange badges was a really amazing experience and only something that happened because we connected with a local.

In this series I’ll be sharing more about how to travel like a local, so stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure!

1. Knowing Jesus. (n.d) Retrieved from the website:

2. Trip Advisor. (2016) Retrieved from the website:

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