Exploring the boundary between pilgrimage and travel

Have you ever stood before a beautiful old door in some distant place? You stood there with your camera or phone, trying to capture the perfect shot—that balance between the wall and the door. Maybe you asked a travel companion to stand in front of the door. Perhaps you even asked the companion to take a photo of you in front of the door! What is it about old doors?

Er Riadh in Djerba, Tunisia

I was asking myself that question when Angela and I visited Tunisia. We didn't intend to visit Tunisia, but travel doesn't always go as one wants. We only had a few days to read about Tunisia, so we traveled with few plans and even fewer expectations. We traveled embracing the possible. The travel guides for Tunisia describe the ruins of Carthage, the desert, and the beauty of the island of Djerba, but not the doors. Everywhere we visited in Tunisia were some of the most charming doors. We found ourselves getting lost in medieval medinas and staring at picturesque doors.

Tunisia wasn't the first place I fell in love with taking photos of doors, but it was the place where I thought about the magic of doors. It's not just the carved wood, the beautiful designs, or the brilliant colors. Doors transcend their aesthetics. Doors are portals in both the literal and metaphorical senses. We can enter an old building. We can cross thresholds. But most importantly, I like to imagine that as we stand in front of these doors, we are stepping into a new world of possibility.

Trinidad, Cuba
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