Faith on the Move: Diana von Glahn


Diana von Glahn, The Faithful Traveler

Although we’ve never met in person, I’m a huge fan of the work of “The Faithful Traveler”, Diana von Glahn. Diana has translated her passion for faith and travel into a means of serving in the New Evangelization. A true “road warrior for God”, her platform includes leading pilgrimages, creating dynamic television programs, blogging across the miles, and being our window to the world through social media. In her remarks below, Diana shares not only some very practical travel tips, but also a truly faith-filled perspective on what it means to be a traveler. I hope you enjoy our conversation below and that you’ll check out Diana’s work at and enjoy living vicariously through her adventures as I do!



Diana von Glahn




Philadelphia suburbs


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Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am just a Catholic girl who likes pretty things. One day, my husband and I decided to create a TV show that featured Catholic shrines and place of pilgrimage. We called it The Faithful Traveler, and the rest has been hard, but enjoyable, work.

How often do you travel?

Two or three times a year. I hope to increase that amount.

Is the majority of your travel for business, pleasure, spiritual enrichment, or “all of the above”?

An even mixture of business and pleasure. Spiritual enrichment is always a part of both.

Where are some of your favorite destinations?

I LOVE SPAIN. Because I speak Spanish fluently (I’m Mexican), it’s nice to be there–it’s both foreign but familiar. I love that feeling. Like I belong, but I don’t. I love most places I’ve been in Europe. The Holy Land is amazing. I love anywhere I find nice people.

How is travel a spiritual experience for you? How do you turn any travel opportunity into a pilgrimage?

As a lifelong Catholic, I have finally reached the point in my life when I understand that every moment of every day has to be a spiritual experience. When I’m working, when I’m playing, when I’m happy and when I’m sad. I must see God in all things. (That doesn’t mean I do, just that I try, because I am, after all human and imperfect.) Travel is a fun part of life, for me. I love learning new things–foreign languages and the history and culture of new places. I love trying new foods. Travel is one way for me to open my heart to people who are foreign to me, and to experiences that challenge me.

Have you ever had a “travel nightmare”? How did your faith help you through the experience? 

Something always goes wrong on any travel experience. It’s just the nature of the beast. Whether it be that my expectations are too high or life just happens, there is always a kink. Recently, on our trip to the Holy Land to film Pope Francis for an upcoming production, we had what I would consider as my worst travel experience at the Tel Aviv airport on the way home. My crew and I were tired and cranky after a long and confusing trip, during which our itinerary had to be constantly reevaluated due to the loss of two of our cameramen–my husband had had a heart attack nine days before we were supposed to depart for the Holy Land and another cameraman backed out unexpectedly a day or two before we left.  Although we’d arrived at the airport 3 hours early, each stop along the way took us so long to get through because of security, it was taking forever. Then, to add insult to injury, we were asked why we got to the airport “so late”. At the second to the last frisking station, we were unexpectedly forced to empty out the contents of our three equipment bags for “scrubbing”. At that station, a very expensive lens disappeared–we discovered after we returned home, and there was no chance of getting it back. To say it was a frustrating experience is an understatement. It was travel hell. When I got on the plane, I found out that my husband was back in the hospital–he had been having chest pains–and I just lost it. I was a sobbing mess. My poor camera guys didn’t know what to do with me. But what could I do? I was at the mercy of everything. I was stuck on a plane. All I could do was pray. And I did. Once I got home, I found out that my husband was ok, and while I was really angry about the lens, I just had to offer it up, and ask God to help me deal with things better in the future. That’s all you can do in those situations, you know? Throwing a tantrum never works. Even though sometimes it feels like the only thing you can do.

What advice would you give to a fellow Catholic tourist?

Pray. All the time. When you wake up, pray. Before you go to bed, pray. Don’t just take pictures and experience things through a lens. Put the camera down, sit in a pew or on a bench, and look. Give thanks. Say a prayer. Give thanks for the ability to travel–not everyone can do that.

What destination is on your “must see” list for the future?

I’m so excited that we’re going to Portugal in October to film our next series, The Faithful Traveler in Portugal! I’m learning as much Portuguese as I can before that trip. I’m also hoping to film in Ireland and Spain in 2015, so if I might ask your readers for some prayers to make that happen, I would be most grateful. We’re also planning a Kickstarter campaign in the Fall to help fund a series on the California Missions. As a California girl (born and raised in San Diego), they have always had a special place in my heart, and I think it would be fun to cover them. So if people would keep that in their prayers, too, that would be awesome.

What are some of your favorite tourism related websites, apps and books?

Whenever I go anywhere, I always try to buy a few books on the location, to get a well-rounded feel for what is there. Since I am drawn to Catholic sites, but since there aren’t a lot of travel books with a Catholic focus, I have to do a lot of online research. (Someday, I’ll write my own books!) I like Rick Steves’ books for the info–he has a love of history, like I do, and his food and hotel recommendations are pretty reliable. I also like DK books for the pictures. I’ve recently been using Rosetta Stone to learn different languages, although I’m using Pimsleur for Portuguese, because Rosetta only has Brazilian Portuguese. (For those who want to learn a new language but find the Rosetta and Pimsleur prices to be too steep, there is Duolinguo online, which is FREE!) I think it’s so important to at least learn how to say a few things in the native language of the country you visit. When we were in the Holy Land this past May, I learned a few Arabic phrases and words. What an amazing language! When I was in Jordan, I met a priest whom I would be interviewing and used a few Arabic words. He was so impressed! I think it shows respect and the acknowledgment that, hey! English isn’t the ONLY language on the planet, even though so many people around the world speak it. With regards to websites, I generally try to find the websites of the places I’m visiting, especially if they are Catholic sites. It’s amazing how many places have websites now! And in different languages! One website I refer to often is, which isn’t Catholic, but which explores sacred sites of all faiths around the world. Holly Hayes has had this website up longer than The Faithful Traveler has been around, and I’ve always admired her take on sacred sites, and her photography is beautiful. I marvel at anyone’s ability to travel so much. I feel like I’ve done so little, but I’m sure many feel the same way about me. It’s all perspective, I guess.

Do you have any additional comments you’d like to share with our readers?

I would just remind people to be respectful, no matter where they are, be it in a church or out on the streets. When we travel, we are representatives of our country, and as Catholics, we are the face of our faith. We have to try our best to be good representatives. To be selfless and not the typical “ugly Americans” that so many countries see us as, after having been exposed to selfish, demanding tourists who think the world should cater to their narrow little mindsets. As a Catholic tourist, we have to remember to respect the rules of any place we enter–if a church does not allow photographs, DON’T TAKE ANY. The world won’t end if you don’t have a picture of something. Instead, sit a little longer and ask God to etch the experience into your heart. He’ll do it for you. :) Be adventurous. Try new things. If something isn’t perfect, consider offering it up instead of complaining. You know, the usual things. Be selfless. Use your travel experience as an opportunity to grow in grace. God will answer your efforts with blessings. And what more could we ever want?

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About Lisa M. Hendey

As a Catholic who loves her faith and a frequent adventurer who’s always up for a new journey, Lisa is a wife and mom, a writer, a speaker and an impassioned traveler. Visit her at to keep up with her comings and goings.