The Talmud teaches us that the Shechinah is brought to a persons home through the Shalom (peace) of husband and wife. In the Zohar, it explains that it is important before the husband goes on a journey that their is peace. It was the holy Rebbes who would travel purposely in order to attach themselves to the Shechinah which is known to be wondering in exile. So if the Shechinah is in a persons peaceful home and in the Bais Medresh, houses of study, then why did they feel they needed to travel?
If a person wants to see an entire art mural, he has to stand back in order to see it. It can only be viewed at a distance, so, perhaps, one needs to step away in order to realize that the Shechinah was really there already in completeness in their regular habitations. Maybe this is a small answer but still it doesn’t feel deep enough.
Since we know that the Shechinah is always traveling in the exile. Always in suffering, feeling the needs of her children, maybe the only way to catch her is to go with her. In a certain way, having to travel away from ones family and be on the road is somewhat of a punishment. I mean, you can have the greatest accomadations in the world but there is simply, no place like home. But then again, when a person is ill or confined to their home too much, they start to go mad. How can this be though, if the Shechinah resides there as the Talmud explains? Then again, we are told in sefer Hamidos to be extra careful in the mikvah and your purity while on the road as it is easier to fall into temptations. So no matter if your at home or on the road, klinging to the Shechinah isn’t as easy as it sounds. Then again, if one simply learns Torah, even alone, the Shechinah attaches itself to them immediately.
Now the Rebbes obviously understood something very high here. Taking upon oneself some extra exile must be crucial in order to have the most real and truest connection to the Shechinah. When you are on the road, you are nobody. As soon as the Chassidim were found out, they moved on. The entire purpose of traveling was to be unknown and to become humble in the lowest sense. The respect of others isn’t something a traveler thinks about?
But these were holy Tzaddikim, you are telling me that they couldn’t figure this out without taking to the road in order to find the Shechinah? Maybe you can say that living a Torah life at home was too easy for them so, therefore, by traveling they grow in madrega from the extra effort needed in avodah (service). What about the halacha in that we learn that a person should always pray in the EXACT location every time as this saves them from pride and sin?
Rochel our holy mother understood the idea of wondering. She requested to be buried along the side of the road. Often she is compared to the Shechinah because of her strong connection too it.
So really, this brings us back to our original thoughts. There is something very holy, and very special about traveling. There are spiritual accomplishments that can only be found on the road, away from the normal and in the hardships of the road, its confusions. The sparks and Shechinah are out there on the roads awaiting the holy person to pass them by.
But still, as much as I feel like traveling helps me bind myself anew to the Shechinah. I also feel that the peacefulness of home, after even a small journey, helps me to then finish my spiritual connections. For me, being away too long is confusing. Being in my town without traveling also seems too force me to loose something. It becomes like a jail cell and suffocates me. But I also feel a prisoner to the unknown when I am stuck traveling far away. Maybe in this lies the entire explanation.
When your at home, you know your next moves and you can keep your regular schedule. While on the road, everything can change at a given moment and you have to have complete Emunah (faith). Maybe it isn’t the traveling and the exile that really binds us to the Shechinah but the emunah that you must have at every second while being in the unknown. At home, you can simply hide behind your mezuzah and go about an entire day not thinking about true faith. There is simply no escaping it when your away.