According to Henri Nouwen,

Traveling is seldom good for the spiritual life. Especially traveling alone. Airplanes, airports, buses and bus terminals, trains and railroad stations filled with people moving here and there, cluttered with magazines, books, and useless objects–it’s all too much, too sensual and distracting to keep our hearts and minds focused on God. When I travel alone I eat too much, drink too much, and look around too much. Meanwhile, I let my mind wander to unhealthy, imaginary places and allow my heart to drift along with confusing emotions and feelings.

I concur with Nouwen, and would like to add that vacations too can be distracting for the spiritual life. Much depends on the type of break we have, whether it is to secluded spots in nature or to busy entertainment. Rest is part of the spiritual life, and a Christian ought to be known by the way she rests. There is a world of difference between rest and retreat compared to a holiday jam-packed with activities and entertainment. Often one needs a rest after the latter type of vacation.


Henri Nouwen, Here and Now (New York: Crossroad, 1994), 85.