Rest is the word that comes to mind as we enter 2016. A place of rest. For hearts of adventure and souls that crave the experiential side of life it is often taken for granted the importance of spiritual development. It seems as if only later in life, when the reality of death is more present do people realize that maybe they should stop living YOLO lives and search for a deeper meaning. Yet the questions of our faith gnaw at us in ways indescribable, causing a silent, nearly invisible pattern.
The Huffington Post shares how over the last 30 years there has been a revolution quietly happening in the global tourism industry. Terms such as eco-tourism, responsible tourism and even volunteerism have entered common usage. Now there is an emerging trend on the horizon that is being cited at the fastest growing sector in the whole travel business. They call it “spiritual tourism” and it is starting to be taken very seriously by governments, state tourism authorities, even the United Nations agency responsible for global tourism – the UNWTO. 22 November, 2013 heralded a new era for the recognition of the growing importance of spiritual tourism as the UNWTO convened the 1st International Conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development at Nimh Binh outside of Hanoi in Vietnam.
So what exactly is it, this Spiritual tourism we speak of? Basically it may be defined as a pilgrimage to a land that is of value and importance to the foundation of faith. It is an adventure of a whole different kind altogether. It is an adventure that feeds not only your physical needs but also speaks to your spirit, hence the name spiritual tourism.
In an age of soulless materialism, and endless consumption, taking time out to explore the depths of the world’s wisdom traditions is probably a good idea. So what are the benefits of a trip such as this? Wayne Styles gives 10 brilliant reasons why you should visit Israel and go-Makkah explains the benefits and importance of Hajj. Some of them being…
A realization that your faith is rooted in events that occurred in real places. It is more relevant in your life as you have a visual encounter.
The experiencing of a more vibrant spiritual life and a deeper love for God. A great percentage of the people who go affirm this.
Experiencing a dimension of authenticity and history to your faith that would be nearly impossible to gain any other way.
For the one interested in travelling to Israel it gives a sharper comprehension of the Bible, allowing you see the Bible when you read it for the rest of your life.
A trip to Mecca on the other hand promotes unity. During Hajj, Muslims from all parts of the world come together and show their love for one another and get to know one another. That is also accompanied by exhortations, guiding towards truth and encouraging people to adhere to it. The Muslims demonstrate unity in time, place, actions and appearance. All of them stand in the different locations of Hajj at the same time, doing the same actions, wearing the same clothes (the izaar and rida’), with humility.
First-hand experience which tends to be the best teacher. A spiritual trip will not only revive your faith and fill you with a peace of some kind as questions you have are answered, it will also give you a great story to tell. An enthralling tale that holds vigorous passion as you describe how a journey of this nature captivated not just your physical senses but your soul to its very core.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.