(…and other travel confessions)
I unpack much faster than I pack. Within 30 minutes of getting home Saturday, the truck was cleaned out and our suitcases were unloaded after a week of wandering around Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. I like coming home.
But I like most everything about traveling, too (except for the frantic clean-up the day before the trip so I can enjoy how clean the house is when I come home!).
And except for when I get this feeling, “We have no clue where we are, do we?” (as in, there really is NOT a Chick-Fil-A here, despite Ms. GiGi, our GPS, so confidently saying so).
And except when I start feeling grouchy around Day 5 because I’ve been completely surrounded by people for at least five days in a row.
And except for the hotel’s fat pillows. Who can sleep with a pillow eight inches tall? Let’s be real: Fluffy pillows are for looks, not sleep.
But I’m not complaining. That’s what the Hebrews did coming out of Egypt when reminiscing about onions over manna, not me. Right?
Well, maybe technically I don’t complain. I just start going silent or sighing or asking (again), “Now what’s the plan?”
So around Thursday of last week, after touring Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum that morning, and not finding that Chick-Fil-A as promised for lunch (I knew it wasn’t going to be in the middle of a neighborhood, crazy GPS), and before we went to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory that afternoon and back to Churchill Downs that night to watch the races, I started my “not-complaining.” Sigh.
It’s not how I grew up. Because we didn’t travel at all.
(Well, unless you count the four-hour station wagon ride from Alabama to Mississippi every few months to visit grandparents. And the once-in-a-lifetime trip we took to visit my uncle in Virginia when I was in middle school.)
Unlike this from Emily Wierenga:
. . . my parents didn’t raise us to believe in travel. But two out of three (we got the God and music part) aren’t bad, right? Daddy traveled in the Marines, then frequently on business with NASA later, and that was enough for him. Mama wasn’t one to venture out far without him (except to Mississippi), so we stayed home.
But I married a man who loves to go. So I’ve discovered I love it, too. While we were homeschooling our two daughters, we turned every trip into a field trip of adventure and education.
And no complaining.
But we’re empty-nesters. Now what? Now we set our own schedule and only pack snacks for me and I don’t have to chronicle each museum tour with reports and photos (although I’m still inclined that way).
And the no complaining rule?
Oh yeah. I don’t want to be a whiner; I want to be a worshiper. But without kids around to influence, I have to consciously remember to look for God for myself in the places and the people and even the circumstances wherever we go.
And he shows up in enthusiastic tour guides and thoroughbred horses and race car drivers.
And he especially shows up in the kindness of my husband who suggests by Thursday afternoon that we nix the races that night and instead kick back in the hotel with a pizza delivery from Papa John’s.
And I say okay.
Because to enjoy traveling, I need to work with how God designed my personality, not against it—alternate activity with rest, keep a hard-copy atlas for when GiGi loses her mind recalculating, recalculating, . . .
and from this trip forward, pack my own pillow.
* * *
I’ve started reading (and loving!) Emily Wierenga’s newest book, Atlas Girl, a travel memoir about how God’s love pursues us everywhere we go, and always leads us back home. Emily is a passionate writer who makes you feel what she feels. You can read chapters 1 & 2 here, or buy the book here. All proceeds go to The Lulu Tree, a non-profit for helping moms and orphans in Uganda.
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