Of course, "life is a journey," and the metaphor in the stories mentioned above is obvious. Travel not only broadens the mind, it changes us as surely as life's journey. Whether for good or ill, depends on the traveler and his or her fortunes in the journeying. I like to think there is wisdom and guidance to be pulled from most any journey, and that doing so, deliberately, defines one as a seeker. That's why I like Shirley MacLaine's books, Out on a Limb, and The Camino. Both describe her travels to foreign lands that occur along with her inner journeying seeking spiritual truth. Her seeking is New Agey, which I relate to, but more traditional religious journeying is also valid (The Santiago de Compostela Camino is usually considered a Catholic pilgrimage). I recently reread The Camino and posted a review of it here.
I've not traveled much in my life, though I harbor a desire for it, with the accompanying "mind-broadening." So a few years ago when a New Orleans palm-reader told me that travel figured in mine and my family's future, I was skeptical. But since then, my sons have traveled to China, and Donna and I have traveled to Rhode Island and, more recently, to Mexico. I believe personal growth was experienced by us all in these trips, especially by my sons. And we all yearn for more.
Travel implies freedom. Shirley MacLaine can indulge her wanderlust because she is enabled by the fortune earned with celebrity. Most of us are more restricted. We save or borrow to make our physical journeys that usually are restricted to one or two-week stints that, often as not, only leave us with feelings of resentment at our imposed limitations. Travel should be broad, without impediments. Nourishing to the soul, and never a matter of hubris over four-week excursions to the biggest tourist traps.
But our journeys need to be more than that. Transversing from point A to B must be done with an awareness of what A and B are, with all the points between, their many cross-connections, and the meaning that arises from, or that can be assigned to them all. So our own life-journeys are enhanced as they continue.
I can say I've changed greatly in my own life journey, especially in my years with Donna. But now I'm taking a more conscious effort in effecting further change. For the better, I pray, before I sleep; there are miles to go.