TheRIVER began during the excitement of an International Backpacker Conference in Amsterdam March 2014. At this conference, 45 of us from 12 nations and traveler communities gathered together. For three days we brainstormed and prayed. We dreamed of what it could look like for our communities to work together. Since then the number of communities involved in theRIVER has more than doubled, and now includes 29 communities from many countries all making connections with each other.
Where did we come from? Most of our communities started out alone, without knowing that anyone else cared about the same things. A few forward thinking people saw that we had to start working together if we were going to have any impact. Among them were those who planned the original Backpacker Conferences many years ago, and those who started Backpacking It Is, Faith Travels, and The Banyan Tree. These people blazed the trail for what eventually became theRIVER.
Our story as theRIVER is a growing one. We are seeing people with the same vision for travelers praying and working together at a scale we have never seen before. And its just gaining momentum. It's clear to us that this kind of movement is not the result of hard work by many people, or by a culmination of many years of effort. This is happening as the Spirit of God draws people together to serve and love each other, and that makes it a fun thing to be a part of. What is your place in the story?
A Traveler's Story
"I never thought I could possibly find what I was so desperately searching for in Jesus"
" I was 20 when I left my home in Germany for the first time and my journey as a traveler began in India. I arrived in India searching eagerly in all types of spiritualities to find truth, to find salvation. After a long quest to find God by approaching every imaginable religion or non-religion, I came to know Jesus on Christmas Day in 2008 when I was celebrating with a Christian community, the River Ashram, in India. I never thought I could possibly find what I was so desperately searching for in Jesus. But it is Jesus who, subsequently, changed my life and became my light in the world. Later that year, I went to the Shekina community in Goa. I spent my time there asking a lot of questions about following Jesus, and this is where I was baptized. I am still in love with Jesus today and am working at the university as a social anthropologist – a discipline that is dedicated to cultural relativism where not many Christians can be found."