Travel Philosophy

There are many options out there for historical travel in Europe. What makes Pietist Schoolman Travel different?

We don’t approach historical travel as a kind of tourism, but as an act that is educational and spiritual.

In the 21st century we’re accustomed to thinking of travel as tourism. But as much as you should expect physical comfort when traveling with us, you should also expect intellectual, emotional, and spiritual discomfort, as you’re pushed to look at the past and present in new ways. Because that kind of discomfort produces the thrill of genuine education.

We do these trips as extensions of our callings as teachers who believe that education can be both informative and transformative. (Our June 2023 tour of Germany, for example, grows out of our years of experience teaching a course on Western civilization and church history.) When you travel with us, you’ll learn more about the history of this nation and others, but you’ll also contemplate profound questions about purpose, meaning, suffering, justice, and belief.

Members of our 2019 group in Paris

Because we are both historians and Christians, we also think of travel as a spiritual act — a powerful reminder of our ongoing journey as “foreigners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11) who sojourn in this world. As we visit unfamiliar locations — or familiar ones that have changed greatly over time — we’ll learn in new ways that “here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

But travel will also challenge us to think about how we love our neighbors — and our enemies — in space and time. Like the Lutheran travel writer Rick Steves, we think that exploring other places and times can get “you out of your comfort zone. It teaches you empathy and lets you come home with a broader perspective.”

This trip helped me remember that both “sides” of both World Wars were people more alike than different from one another.  It was challenging and informative to hear and read perspectives from other nationalities than Americans about the “whys” of the wars. (Kathy Allison – Waco, Texas)

Expect that we’ll find ways to teach religious history, even if we’re talking about topics like politics, war, or art, but know that non-Christians are certainly welcome to join our tours. Along the way, we may invite you to join us for worship or prayer, but it’s always up to you if you want to participate.