Finding Your Purpose (in Travel)

Purpose. Defined: “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”

It can seem pretty daunting to even consider for what reason we exist. However, we believe that every person was created to serve a specific purpose (rather, purposes plural!). In fact, we are of the belief that every person’s purpose is related to the purpose of someone else. In other words, our purpose is found in intentional relationship with others!

Finding your purpose, however, is a journey.

Ok, so maybe it’s more of an accident.

But if you are reading this now you have an inclination toward travel, or for helping people. Or maybe Google SEO just tripped up a little and in fact it is an accident! Whether you found us by accident or intent, we hope that you recognize that you are already on the journey to find your purpose!

We believe that purpose is so important to travel that we actually married the two words to define our adventure! “Travel with Purpose” is no accident. It is years in the making – a journey, so to speak. And we stand by our belief in the power of this purpose so much that we have left the comforts of one world behind to live in the uncomfortable awkwardness of the unknown.

So what is our purpose in travel?

Our purpose in travel is to meet people we would otherwise not meet so that we can share stories we would otherwise not know with people (you!) who would otherwise remain home so that they might feel an inspired urge within them to involve themselves in these lives of the people we meet.

Wow, that’s a mouthful!

But really, to us, it’s concise. We want you to find your purpose (in travel) and whether it is travel itself, or storytelling, or doing some extraordinary thing in some unfamiliar place you never imagined you would ever find yourself. And we have some suggestions to help you find your purpose:


1. Read everything you can. I pick up books just to start them, to see if I’m interested at all by the first few minutes, and then more often than not put them down and not pick them up again! I read books (fiction and nonfiction), magazines, newspapers and, more often than not, online content. Believe it or not, I actually despised reading as a kid. I was a jock. I loved the outdoors.

But I found as a young adult that as I read I was intrigued by little pieces of stories here and there and those pieces ultimately led me to a passion both for people and for travel!

2. Interact with people. I’m not a fan of random meet up groups. And honestly the older I get the less open I am to new experiences. However, I still try to make friends as often as I can and engage in conversations about all sorts of topics while doing any number of activities.

For me, words are the clues to my purpose, and I might find a new word or idea in conversation that leads me to pursue more about that concept.

For example, I had a conversation a few years back with someone about the importance of learning to work with your hands. Although I was years out of formal education, successful by most standards with a bachelors degree and coursework toward a masters, a part of me delighted in the thought of learning as it related to using my hands.

So I started to take on little projects around the apartment and with friends where I tried to fix things I otherwise would have paid someone else to fix. Sometimes I broke things worse, or lost irreplaceable parts with my clumsy hands. But other times I actually succeeded in fixing the thing. Sometimes it cost more for me to fix myself than to go out and buy a new one.

But from that one conversation my life has now taken a course where I find myself eager to learn more about how to fix things myself. It’s given me a new confidence in myself, and refined my purpose, so that I am unafraid (or less so!) when things don’t go the way I want them to.

3. Experiment (with failure). Thomas Edison is credited with saying that he had not failed. He has just found “10,000 ways that didn’t work.” Call Edison a master of failure. His brilliance, quite literally, was in his ability to persist through defeat.

Good salesmen know that all successful sales is simply processing failure faster than everyone around them. There are going to be a certain number of “no” responses to every “yes.” So success is found in the pursuit of the “yes” not in fear of the “no.”

By experimenting with any number of things – whether hobbies, professions, sports, musical instruments or an endless number of topics – you will likely find failure almost instantaneously. However, every now and then you will find that you enjoy the process of failure and, if you allow it, this enjoyment will sustain you through failure and onto success.

For example, I always wanted to learn to play guitar. I tried once in sixth grade but I couldn’t hold the guitar correctly and the strings hurt my fingers. So I put it down. There was no enjoyment in the process of failure and I abandoned music altogether. In high school some of my friends were in a band that actually booked shows at venues all over town. Everyone loved them, of course, and my envy of their success brought up memories of the day I set the guitar down the last time.

So I saved up some money and took one of the guys to the music store and had them pick out a guitar for me. For the first few days I played until my fingers literally bled. And by play, it was more like beating a stray cat. But I kept at it this time because, while others couldn’t necessarily hear it, I started to hear the song I was trying to play. The more I played, the clearer it became until one day someone else said, “Hey isn’t that…” I smiled and knew I had broken through defeat.

Now, years later, I don’t make money off of playing my guitar. But it brings me joy to strum from time to time, and simple songs I have written have become a part of other people’s lives as well as my own. Playing guitar in center stage of a rock show might not be my purpose. And however distorted my intentions were to learn to play in high school, guitar became a small part of my purpose in life.

4. Go! It doesn’t matter where, or when or how much. The next time a friend asks you to go somewhere don’t think about all of the other things you could be doing. Just go! Going on the simple things makes the bigger ones less daunting.

For example, there was a period in my life when I did not have a job and was comfortable living off of my savings while I tried to regroup and determine in which career path I wanted to head next. I made a rule that anytime anyone asked me for help I would go.

This once led me to driving an hour across town to do a five minute errand for a friend. This friend introduced me to another guy who took me on a kayak fishing trip to the Florida Keys and invited me to attend his church. Attending the church ultimately led me to going on a mission trip to Cuba. I will never know whether going to Cuba had any true impact on the people I served there, but I do know that my life was changed forever as I met my wife on that trip and found a deeper purpose for living.

It all started with a simple trip across town!

Of course the list could go on and on. But we believe that all purpose is related to people so the best thing you can do is intentionally surround yourself in life with all sorts of people with all sorts of interests who can expose you to all sorts of opportunities that you may never have had otherwise. Then its up to you whether you are open enough to go and try something new.

The alternative, of course, is sitting at home on your couch watching Netflix (which we can’t altogether slam since we also enjoy those moments to ourselves sometimes too!)!

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Other Categories

Helping People

We like to say that we “Travel With Purpose.” That’s a fancy way of saying that we look for any and every opportunity to help people wherever we go! This has taken the form of a variety of experiences and we’re sharing these stories to inspire you to help others as you wander the world!

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Enjoy her photo essays below as we continue our journey to explore the world!

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