Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Travelin' Tuesdays - Four

A Quest for the Spiritual.

"Where have you traveled that has provided you a deeper connection with parts of your life your extremely passionate about?"  

I posed this question two weeks ago in my Travelin' Tuesdays blog post.  Days after clicking the "publish" button on the post I found myself thinking about this question quite a bit. I began to look through old photos and day dream about some of the places I've visited over the years. Through this process I stumbled upon a video (view below) I took in Morocco in December of 2008. The video was taken during adhan, the call to prayer. Morocco is a Muslim country, so adhan is heard five times a day proceeding the daily prayers fulfilling one of the five pillars of Islam. Traditionally adhan was shouted by a muezzin in the minaret of a mosque. Today, most mosques are armed with a recording of the call that blares through a loudspeaker. 

Light sleepers, or those sensitive to noise, may be less than enthusiastic about adhan, as the first call of the day is around 4:30am. But as I traveled to different cities throughout the country, I found myself looking forward to the call to prayer. I found myself listening for the call, stopping briefly to remember how grateful I was for the opportunity to travel to such a beautiful country.  I would even go as far to say I was envious, as I would day dream about what it would be like to have adhan in my everyday life.

 Upon reflection, I think part of my envy and love of the call to prayer stemmed from my tremendous passion  for the Christian religion during that time period of my life. I was very passionate about Christ's message concerning serving others and loving ones neighbor. Having the call to prayer (contextualized within Christianity) in my daily life would mean I would be reminded of Christ's message everyday several times a day.

Three and half years removed from my time in Morocco, I am quite skeptical of religion. Despite my skepticism I still cling to some of the messages concerning social justice, service, love and compassion that I began to understand more fully during my time of great devotion to Christianity. I also cling to the notion that we (humans) are spiritual beings. Therefore I find religion to be one of the more fascinating facets of the world in which we live, as it has played a large role in many people's expression of spirituality throughout history.

 If I went back to Morocco today, I am confident I would find adhan as amazingly beautiful as I did in 2008. My reasons would be different, but I have no doubt that I would love its presence. During my travels in recent years, the more ethereal parts of the human experience seem to have had the greatest impact on me.

Looking toward the future, my list of possible places to travel is also dominated by the theme of spirituality and my fascination with otherworldly experiences. Some destinations on my list are explicitly spiritual like studying yoga in India, visiting the biblical sites of Jerusalem, and walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Other destinations are more implicitly spiritual, with specific focus on immersion into nature and/or deepening my connection and understanding of my fellow (wo)man. Nature, I discovered during my year living in Alaska, can be far more ethereal than any man-made structure or institution devoted to the ideal. Connecting to my fellow brethren, whether a close friend or stranger of another culture, are my teachers of generosity, love, compassion and humility.

Despite my spiritual path veering away from Christianity, I am passionate about continually cultivating gratitude in my life and seeing the interconnected nature of all things. Therefore I am grateful for experiences like adhan while traveling, that bring me closer to that passion in which the heart of my spirituality lies.

The video below was recorded in December of 2008 outside the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca (one of two mosques in Morocco that non-muslims are allowed entry). The audio features adhan. The images featured include the mosque's minaret and the my fellow travelers. Towards the end of the video my two friends who are muslim are featured. They are heading into the mosque to pray. 

Continue to join Underlined and Bold every Tuesday for inspirational travel content. Tuesday will be set aside each week to inspire us all to get out of our comfort zones, plan our next adventure and be open to whatever we find along the way. If you would like to see how "Travelin' Tuesdays" got its start on Underlined and Bold click here.


  1. Fantastic post. Definitely one of my favorites.

  2. I agree with Chris that I really enjoyed reading this and watching your video. I admire what an active role you take in carving out your own spiritual path. Though admittedly I don't think much about my own spirituality or religion, it has been while traveling that those thoughts have crossed my mind recently. In particular, I was very excited to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem this year but couldn't have imagined the impact it would have on me until I was actually there, smashed between two elderly women fervently praying and crying, and touching those ancient stones with my own hands.


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