May 26, 2006

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Enjoying travels whether hither or yon

Periodically, someone will tell me that his or her goal is to visit every one of the United States.

Recently, I asked my husband, Paul, to help me recall how many states we have touched through the years. Then we recalled states that each of us visited separately.

Between us, we’re only a few short of enjoying all 50. However, we have also enjoyed a little of Germany, Austria and Italy. Still, by today’s travel standards—or our three daughters’ experiences—we are slackers, and compared to many of our friends, we are true amateurs.

In the April 28 issue of The Criterion, I shared information about the travel ministry of Globus and Cosmos, headquartered in Littleton, Colo., (877-797-8793 or visit

At some point, I hope Paul and I can take at advantage of a well-organized tour either home or abroad. In fact, that seems the more practical thing to do because of increasing gas costs as well as better ease and relaxation when traveling. Because of Paul’s strong interest in trains, we also hope some day to enjoy certain railroad excursions in the U.S. or Canada.

Once, the only way we traveled was through family camping—experiences that provided fond memories, perennial laughter over the mistakes made and the challenges encountered, and the realization that we’ll probably not do that again.

We bought our first tiny foldout Nimrod camper in the early years, then a larger Viking version when the girls approached their teens. Both campers offered us only necessities, no luxuries.

We always took with us appropriate “church clothes” for the Sunday Masses attended along the way, but now find worshippers (including ourselves) dress much more casually.

Once, in a small Colorado church, we were impressed when the priest opened the Mass with the greeting of peace, asking each of us to introduce ourselves to those around us, sharing from where we came. This gave us such a feeling of belonging even though we were strangers.

Another travel experience I would like to try is a steamboat/paddlewheel excursion. We’ve known only one couple that has done that, but they highly recommend the experience.

Last year, I shared a column about another Catholic opportunity through a couple of travel veterans. Maryland Catholics, and husband and wife, Robert and Mary Jo Wilhelm are founders of Storyfest Journeys. Those familiar with this 26-year-old travel ministry might already know about their upcoming travel experiences that include Iceland, Canada, Santa Fe, N.M., the historic Potomac River Valley and other sites. Readers can locate more information via

However, travel in our beautiful Hoosier State is just as satisfying. No matter where else we’ve traveled, Paul and I are always happy to be back home in Indiana.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


Local site Links: