Is there room for God in your carry-on bag?


Do you leave God behind when you enter the hell of an airport?  You don’t have to.  Here are five ways that I’ve found helpful in bringing God with me when I travel.  

#1 Find pools of silence in your day

Travel can be frantic and stressful.  But you can create zones of silence.  Long airplane trips can be very soothing, once you are through TSA security.  You don’t need to put 

music through your noise cancelling earphones.  You can listen to the “sounds of silence” whether it is at 35,000 feet or in the terminal as you sit out a delay.   Take a Sabbath from noise, even if only for 15 minutes or an hour.  Often God comes to us in the silences of our days.

#2 Follow God on Twitter

Use social media to stay connected to your faith community.  Tune into webcasts of sermons you’ve missed.  Follow your favorite faith leaders on Twitter.  The changed context in which you are listening or reading may allow you to see God in new and different ways.

#3 Dive into new baptismal fonts

Last year my wife and I traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  Our guide observed our interest in the Russian Orthodox choral music being sung in a church we visited.  She asked us if we’d like to join her that evening at an Evensong Vigil at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, which is world-renown for its choir of monks.  For two hours we stood mesmerized by the music and liturgy and moved by the faith of those around us.  As they approached God, they brought us along.

#4  Make a pilgrimage to a “thin place”

Thin places—where the barrier between the human and the divine is permeable—exist in many faiths and some are not attached to any faith at all.  Plan ahead and see if you can find a place of pilgrimage nearby.  It can be as small as a much-venerated Buddhist relic in a temple around the corner from your hotel that you visit for 15 minutes or as big as Ayers Rock/Uluru in Australia.

#5: Say “no” to airplane food

I make a practice of fasting on the 21st of every month to express solidarity with those who go hungry, whether I’m in the air, or not.  You don’t have to choose chicken or pasta.  You just say, “no, thank you.”  It can lead to some very interesting conversations with business associates and traveling companions.  More importantly it brings you closer to God.   


Travel can disrupt your relationship with God, just as it disrupts your relationships with your family and friends.  But, unlike family and friends, who usually come with their own baggage, there’s definitely room for God in your carry-on when you travel.

Published by Rob Radtke

President & CEO, Episcopal Relief & Development, husband, father, friend, traveler, reader, New Yorker.

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