Someday you may be asked the question by a Mason, who you do not know, “Are you are a Traveling Man”? The reference is as old as the Craft of Masonry. In the ancient world of Operative Masonry, masons were often required to move from job to job and locality to locality much as in our modern times. First class masons were more likely to travel great distances than those of lesser ranks, i.e. Fellowcraft and Entered Apprentices. Because of their experience, like today’s union membership, they could move freely from job to job. Those doing so were usually members of a Masonic guild, whose members would, if known, vouch for the qualifications of another ‘traveling’ mason.
In speculative masonry we as Master Masons may move freely from Lodge to Lodge either as a visitor or by moving our membership and upon providing the proper documents or by being tested, we can be found to worthy to attend another Master Mason Lodge. Essentially this is the same as moving from one job to another or from one ancient Masonic guild to another.
Additionally, a Master Mason is a traveler form west to east, as east is where the sun comes up and the source of light. This is why the Master sits in the East. Thus, being a traveling man represents our journey from darkness to Masonic light or enlightenment. Remember the words, “It will be necessary for you to travel”? and the condition of he road we would have to travel?
In Masonry we are told to seek the light. Light in Masonry is knowledge and from that knowledge comes information and understanding.