Setting out on a pilgrimage requires some preparation, some planning, even some packing. But my reading about Indian sadhus and the story of a Jain nun highlights the task of divestment, equally of processions and of desire to control one’s journey. Taking to the open road on a spiritual quest involves relinquishing material and physical security.

I am reminded of Jesus’ admonition to his followers, advising them to take little, and his example as one without a place to lay his head.

How different are my preparations that involve anticipating illness, incliment weather, and loss of vital items. So my suitcase is full and locked; my carry on bag is heavy; my electronic devises protected by a confusion of passwords. The later occupied too many minutes as I struggled to transfer my New York Times subscription for reading while traveling so that I can stay informed. MSP the pull between open road and security was embodied in a policeman carrying a gun. In 2001, the first time I traveled with St. Olaf students, we were shocked by that sight in the Rome airport. Now it is common, but not so common that the sight did not prompt me to wonder how our concern for protection and all our preparations might distract from  the reasons we set out on a journey.