Trains, planes and automobiles. However you go, traveling is a blessing. Seeing the world can change your world.
Over the last four decades Jocelyn and I have journeyed in single engine aircraft, sea planes, helicopters, Boeing jetliners, buses, vans, tuk tuks, taxis, horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, ferries, barges and riverboats.
We’ve paid bribes at border crossings, been interrogated by armed guards at remote checkpoints, suffered air and sea-sickness, and raced through airports to make our connecting flights. We’ve heard every excuse in the book for flight delays, unfulfilled promises and lost luggage.
And we’ve loved every minute of our travels. Well, not every minute but 97.2 % of them (see “lost luggage” above).
Travel takeaways have formed our thinking and holiday getaways.
11 Lessons Learned From Traveling Light
1. Travel light. Experience taught us that carry-on is the way to go. Anywhere. Being selectively prudent and packing detergent can help a limited wardrobe go a long, long way. One carry on each suffices for a fifteen-day trip.
Traveling light in our attitude likewise served us well.
2. Go with the flow. Travel seldom goes smoothly. Flight delays are inevitable. When your stewardess attempts to placate you with pretzels because your flight is delayed on the tarmac for over ninety minutes due to the pilots being delayed in traffic, do no harm.
Chill – don’t kill.
3. The world is much bigger than your personal preferences. Broaden your scope and enlarge your perspective because life’s not all about you. Just because it’s “your way” doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Or the right way.
Travel pays huge educational dividends.
4. People like to grumble. Yes, I’ve eavesdropped on conversations. However, the sound volume of some, don’t require close proximity to be heard – especially grumbling about first world problems. One traveler moaned about the fact they had to wear the same thing they wore at the same time the previous year on their cruise. More than one complaint was raised about the thinness of guestroom pillows.
Paradise would be a disappointment for some people. You know who they are.
5. God is incredibly creative. Observe the diversity of flora and fauna, topography and temperatures in Alaska and South Africa, Siberia and the Caribbean, the Northwest Territories and Zimbabwe.
Treat the planet with respect.
6. Hospitality and generosity are humbling. We’ve stayed in the homes of families who spent a week’s income or more on the meals made for us. We’ve served with selfless missionaries for Jesus in the slums of Thailand, the inner city streets of New York, Nairobi, and Kampala, and with HIV/AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
God loves our world and its precious people.
7. Courtesy goes far further than rudeness. Your kindness footprint is as or more significant than your carbon footprint. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. People deserve to have a good impression of you.
Especially traveling as an ambassador of Christ.
8. Everybody has a story and each one has a familiar ring to it. People share a surprisingly high agreement on what really matters. Most everyone simply want to be happy, make some money, have a roof over their heads and good food in their stomachs. Parents take responsibility for their children and want to see them happy and become contributing citizens. There are shysters, political zealots, terrorists and bad guys out there. Beware.
For the greater part, people are decent.
9. Experiences are more valuable than souvenirs. T-shirts fade but first time experiences – good and bad – last a lifetime.
Go for the firsts.
10. In every culture people hold varying levels of grievance against their government. In some countries, grievances are addressed with ballots. In others, with bullets.
Be grateful for ballots.
11. There are more people who view life as a sacred trust than those who are irreligious, agnostic or atheistic. I’m reminded by conversations everywhere I travel that God has set eternity in the human heart.
Extend conversations one minute longer and see where God comes in.
Travel Is A Blessing Not To Be Taken For Granted
In 1979 we honeymooned on the exotic shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario. An assistant pastor’s salary did not hold a lot of promise for travel abroad. Our families had never traveled off the continent.
Not in our wildest dreams did we imagine that we would be sent on missions trips, sponsored for conferences, be invited internationally to preach, gifted with appreciation travel, lead Holy Land tours, or be hosted by friends on European assignment.
Dr. Seuss must have had people like us in mind when he wrote, Oh The Places You’ll Go.
It’s our dream to trek with our children and grandchildren (and their carry-ons) to experience new firsts.
Travel light and enjoy your journeys.
APPLICATION: What are your travel takeaways? Please leave a comment below.
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I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
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