THIN PLACES TRAVEL
“Thin places–physical places with spiritual significance.”
Thin Place Travel emphasizes trips that combine mind, body, and spirit. Its name comes from the Celtic understanding that in some places the line separating this world from the transcendent world is very thin, encouraging easy crossings. Our trips are designed for reflective people on their own pilgrimages through life who are interested in others who have gone before.
These tours are not academic, but they are for people who like books and ideas. Readings are suggested for preparing for each trip, and there are frequent talks, guided tours, and times for discussion. No tests or papers, but lots of good conversation.
Daniel Taylor and his wife, Jayne, have led many student and adult trips to places around the world, ranging from Britain, Western and Eastern Europe and Australia to Cuba, Guatemala, and Brazil. They continue to lead trips annually and invite those interested in coming along to contact them using the Contact page.
C.S. LEWIS, TOLKIEN AND FRIENDS: A LIGHTLY LITERARY TOUR OF IRELAND AND ENGLAND
May 25-June 4, 2017 (tentative)
Join us on a tour of the United Kingdom of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings—that famous gathering of Christian writers who are among the most influential authors of our time.
We gather in Dublin, with a walk of the city and an evening of Irish music and dance. The next day we head north to the Mourne Mountains, the model for Lewis’ Narnia, ending the day in Belfast. After a morning visit to the striking Titanic museum, we spend the afternoon touring sites associated with Lewis’ childhood, including: his childhood home—Little Lea, Campbell College, the church where he was baptized, two public memorials to Lewis, and street murals dedicated to Narnia.
The following day we travel further north to the Irish coast, seeing Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle, the reputed model for Cair Paravel. Next we fly from Belfast to Birmingham for a tour of places associated with Tolkien, including the likely models for his Two Towers in The Lord of the Rings. We then will go to Malvern (site of the prep school Lewis describes in Surprised by Joy) and take a favorite hill walk of Lewis and Tolkien. On the way to Oxford we stop at a Cotswold village for lunch.
Our goal is Oxford, one of the world’s great university towns and home to the creators of Narnia and Middle Earth. We enjoy an Inklings walking tour of central Oxford and visit the pub (The Eagle and Child) where the Inklings met for rich talk and dark beer. We tour Lewis’ home (The Kilns) and his college (Magdalen), eat at his favorite stream-side restaurant (The Trout) and also visit the graves of Lewis, Tolkien, and Charles Williams. An optional half-day trip to grand Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Winston Churchill) is an additional opportunity.
On the way to London we will attempt to visit Highclere Castle (of Downton Abbey fame). The tour ends in London, from which participants will either return home or add days for further exploring on their own.
Led by Dr. Dan Taylor and wife Jayne, with able help from Ben Patterson, campus pastor of Westmont College, and his wife Lauretta.
Anticipated cost: $2550-$2850 plus airfare per person.
Application requests and questions: Dan Taylor through the Contact page.
RECENT PAST TRIPS
20TH C. FRANCE: ARTISTS, WRITERS AND WAR (June 21-July 1, 2016). An exploration of the modernist writers and artists of early 20th-century Paris, along with the two world wars that bracketed the period.
A LIGHTLY LITERARY NEW ENGLAND LEAF TOUR (Oct. 10-19, 2014). A 10 day tour of New England with an emphasis on great American Writers (Dickinson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville) and great fall colors.
FOLLOWING THE SAINTS: A CELTIC CHRISTIANITY TOUR (September 7-21, 2013)
A two-week tour of Celtic Christian sites in Ireland, Scotland, and northern England. Begins in Dublin and ends in Edinburgh. This tour was repeated in October of 2015.
ENGLAND TERM REUNION TOUR (June 14-27, 2012)
For those who have participated in any Bethel University England Term semester or Interim “Travel Writing” course since 1979. A thirteen-day tour (with a departure point at 11 days) that will include some of the familiar places from past tours, plus something new.
C.S. LEWIS, TOLKIEN AND INKLINGS TOUR (September 5-12, 2012)
A seven-day tour of Oxford, the Cotswolds, Stratford, and Wales, with an emphasis on the lives and works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.