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Learning to travel without financial means

We need to go on trips. Only by leaving can we perceive the value of a thing. Value is perceived by comparison.  “Wow, I didn’t realize how green Georgia is,” I may think upon returning from Arizona.  One reason “a prophet isn’t honored in his hometown” is that people don’t realize how …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

We need to go on trips. Only by leaving can we perceive the value of a thing. Value is perceived by comparison.  “Wow, I didn’t realize how green Georgia is,” I may think upon returning from Arizona.  One reason “a prophet isn’t honored in his hometown” is that people don’t realize how rare he is. Let him travel to another town and his novelty is charming.

Initiation is a process of leaving something to begin a new phase. While nature initiates women, sending them through cycles of fertility, childrearing and menopause, a majority of men have never been initiated. They have never really had to struggle through leaving to get to the other side. When they do leave, they do so with safety nets stretched beneath them – “relational and financial nets that minimize not only the risk implicit in travel, but also the reward.


Sterling Hayden
was an actor who became a member of the OSS (CIA) during WW2. He worked mainly to pay for his ships and voyages around the world. He thought a lot about leaving and had this to say about it:

“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… cruising, it is called.

Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

‘I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it.’ What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone. What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. 

But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by; the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Comments (7)

  • Wow, this could not have hit closer to home this morning! Thanks so much for publishing this and for continuing to encourage risk taking!!!

  • As someone who just jumped off this year into a job/ministry that most people would say they “couldn’t afford to take on”…just let me stand up and cheer at the top of my lungs for this one!!!!

    signing off as…

    happily proving it ain’t so

  • Hi Seth,
    I read this post to my three of my friends. They all thought the key is giving up dependence on money and comfort, and it’s not as important to travel. “You can do so much right here,” they said, but I think I agree with you.

    Question though, how do you choose where to go? Does God tell you? or do you just pick a spot on the map which sounds interesting?

  • Do you think it’s possible to be too focussed on avoiding comfort? I know there have been times when I’ve felt so guilty about having a comfy bed and money to spend on CDs that it’s paralysed me. When all I have to live with is what I can fit in a rucksack I find it so much simpler – when I have bills to pay and need to look presentable for work and the only way I tend to socialise with people from church is by spending spare income on cinema trips or meals out it’s a lot harder to tell what a godly life looks like. I know I’m not satisfied with the mundane but I don’t know how to make a difference where I am. Help!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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