Being a good traveler takes know-how, and I don’t have it. My clothes wrinkle in the suitcase. My purse always gains weight. And I’m continually hunting for items I can’t find. Room keys don’t work smoothly, and fast food starts to taste bad. Road trips often include getting lost, and climbing into a different bed every night is like playing sleep-roulette. I admire people who can travel well.
The founder of Youth with a Mission, Loren Cunningham, has traveled the globe on a continual basis for five decades. He and his wife Darlene, now in their seventies, are enthusiastically celebrating YWAM’s 50th anniversary by moving in and out of more than fifty countries in 2010, staying a while in each place. And they’re labeling this a “celebration”?
I’m awed by the biblical story of Abram who was told (by God) to leave his home and all things familiar for points unknown. He didn’t resist this challenging assignment even though no specific trip destination was given him. Without complaining, he became a full-time nomad, living in tents and in turmoil, without being able to return home even once throughout the rest of his life, an amazing sacrifice.
A few of the phrases from Genesis 12 are: “So Abram left… He set out… Abram traveled… From there he went on… Then Abram set out and continued… And Abram went…”
That’s just one chapter’s activity for this travelin’ man. Imagine the packing, unpacking and repacking! He had to remember everything from camel food to a water supply. How did he do it?
My Aunt Joyce was a spectacular traveler into her nineties, rolling her clothes and packing her suitcase to look like so many rows of wrinkle-free sausages. She took only what she needed, carefully coordinating outfits and accessories to minimize bulk. If she bought souvenirs, they were always small and easy to pack. I never saw her rummaging through her things in search of something the way I continually am. And Aunt Joyce slipped in and out of time zones as effortlessly as she tried on new outfits. Although I’ve tried to emulate her, I’ve never succeeded.
I love the old gospel song that says:
“This world is not my home. I’m just a-passin’ through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door;
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
When I get frustrated with my poor travel skills, I’m soothed to think one day all travel as we know it will cease. My tattered suitcases won’t be needed. We’ll be home for good, living in an environment of perfection, absent of all need, especially the need to go anyplace. Sounds pretty good to me.
In the mean time, I forgot to pack socks and will have to wear sandals tomorrow, despite cold temperatures and predicted rain. Once I get back to Michigan, I’ll unpack, then repack to fly to England to meet our precious newborn twins. No doubt I’ll remember the baby outfits and maybe even my socks this time.
Although I’m fairly sure I won’t need to pack the camel food, what else will I forget?
“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go…’ Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out.” (Genesis 12:1&4)