“…always the question comes back to a central question: how is the Divine wooing us, calling us into deeper and deeper intimacy?”[1]

John Mabry

We love to travel. We all have seen the proliferation of travel books, blogs, and Instagrams that are dedicated to making us wish we were in different places. Exotic places. Faraway places that are difficult to get to. Or at least, take a long plane ride to arrive at. We desire to travel to these places because they are different from where we are. They are somewhere else.

When we realize we are going to travel, say for a planned vacation, this is an anticipatory experience that we all can relate to. Whether with joyful excitement or loathing – to know that you are going to go to a “Somewhere Else” is to have a heightened awareness and a heightened sense of being.  If I could distill the entire travel experience down to two motivations, it is to be somewhere else, but it is also to know that you are going. If I ask people this, and I have, they will agree or at least resonate with these two motivations. And let’s face it – the longing to be somewhere else points to a dissatisfaction with where we are. But to be going is to be making some kind of progress to arrive to the place we long to go.

Yes, that longing to be Somewhere Else is a motivation we all have – whether we are in the act of going, or watching someone else go, but most often simply desiring to go there. Wherever there is, is where we want to arrive to. The same can be said of the Spiritual Journey. For those who see themselves on this path, there is a place up ahead, on a long road, that we want to arrive at. To understand our journeys in this way is to situate ourselves on the path itself, and not necessarily at the destination. And for most, there is a motivation, a desire, a longing, to arrive at Somewhere Else – whether that is a deeper relationship with God, a clearer sense of Ultimate Meaning, or seeking alignment with one’s True Self. Whatever the longing is can be discerned as rooted in one’s existence and being in this very moment. It can be understood through the big questions we ask ourselves (“Who am I?” “Is there a God?” “What is my purpose and meaning in life?” etc.). The big questions themselves are the path, and they reveal the longing to arrive. The answers to these questions, perhaps, can be understood as our Somewhere Else.

When we realize that we are all travelers, it becomes paramount that we pursue this journey of discovery, exploration, meaning, and ultimate love. Knowing we are on the path is a crucial first step. To be a traveler is at the heart of the spiritual journey – hence the word journey. A journey invokes the essence of travel. There is a path, and on that path are lots of Somewhere Elses and at the beginning of that path is where you stand. What is more difficult is discerning how to get to Somewhere Else, and this is where having a spiritual guide becomes vital.

[1] John Mabry, Starting Spiritual Direction