This Is How to Travel Well
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years. Deuteronomy 8:2
One lesson that smart travelers learn is that you can’t take it all with you! You usually can spot the first-time-traveler—the person who has the large bulging suitcase held together with a piece of rope or gray tape. The overweight traveler is also apt to get a shock when he or she finds out the cost of overweight luggage. Whereas airlines used to be “traveler friendly,” more likely than not they are struggling with survival and personnel is under stress, just as you are. It isn’t that the person behind the counter doesn’t like you. He’s just trying to keep his job and please his boss, too.
As a veteran traveler, I’ve learned some important lessons over the years, and perhaps you can learn from my personal experience. Let’s get started. If you are going to travel, I have three important suggestions. First, travel light. This means get rid of the heavy Samsonite suitcase and trade it for a lightweight one. Getting nailed at the airport for overweight luggage often costs more than buying a lighter suitcase.
Traveling light is important not only when you fly, but it’s equally important in how you live. Lots of people carry a tremendous load of baggage. Long ago the psalmist wrote, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). That is something that you must do. The Hebrew word that we translate “cares” includes a host of ideas and thoughts—burdens, worries, concerns over health, wealth, and your future.
“What’s in your box?” I am occasionally asked when I check in at an airport. The bulky excess baggage that people carry in life may be memories that burn, resentment or anger against someone who has hurt you, a deep-seated fear that something may happen to you because what you fear took down your mother or father.
My friend, John Coloumbe, takes groups to Israel, and before they board a little boat on Galilee, John tells them, “Find a stone that is equal to the burden you are carrying right now and bring it on board with you.” On Galilee, they cut the engine of the little craft, and John tells them, “Look, Peter, who fished here, said we are to cast our burdens on the Lord,” and in the stillness of the moment, one by one, individuals drop their rocks into Galilee, symbolically turning them over to the Lord. Get rid of your excess baggage and take refuge in the Lord.
Next travel right. Over the years we have developed a rule of thumb: “When in doubt, leave it out.” Of course, there are certain essentials, and you will look funny, feel funny, or act funny without them. Don’t trust your memory. A short pencil is better than a long memory, especially if you pack in a hurry or are stressed out with details that make you forget essentials.
Make a standard list of absolute must-have essentials to ensure that what you really need is packed; but remember, you don’t need as much as you think you do. Generally, you are seeing people who won’t remember what you wore, so forget about taking a change for every day you are gone.
Finally, travel cool. When your flight is delayed, your luggage gets lost, or you have a seatmate that talks your head off, keep your cool. When you get stressed out and are in someone’s face, everybody loses. Airline personnel have limited abilities to change some things, so be nice, smile, and talk without raising your voice. It’s the best way to fly. You may not get to your destination any sooner, but you will feel better, look better, and be far more relaxed when you arrive and you can get off the plane with a smile.
Resource reading: Acts 27:13-26