How did you travel in 2010?
Well…there was Panama. (With a jaunt to San Francisco and Tijuana somewhere in the middle of the two months) Other than that I stayed pretty well within the confines of Washington (though I do like it here.
How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
Funny you should ask, as in the past twelve days, my travel plans for the coming year have fluctuated greatly.
I have long wanted to visit New York, and springtime seemed the perfect time to visit.
When a good friend visited for New Years, she brought the idea of spending some time in Alaska this summer.
And between friends and family scattered abroad, the prospect of visiting a foreign country looked promising.
Although I’m not sure how likely it is that we’ll make it to the (beautiful) northern-most state, this past weekend I was alerted to a (I prefer my aesthetics too minimalistic to shove glittery, flashing text at you – but imagine it) sale that British Airways was having. Flights starting at $281 from Seattle to London? And I have a good friend living in Belfast this year? This news warranted looking into.
With a little help from Kayak, I discovered that even cheaper tickets could be had through Continental ($691 round trip to Belfast? Um yes please). So on Saturday I emailed my friend to see when she might be out of town/busy. Yesterday (Monday) I checked with my managers to see if I would be able to take four days off. And last night as I turned to Hipmunk (love it!) to see if any other options would pop up, the prices started fluctuating….what was a $691 flight became $8xx. I turned to another option that was $714 on a different airline, and moments after our Ireland-US Sype call ended, it was $752 (but still the route I wanted to take). So I plunged into the purchasing process, discovering part way through that my fares had changed and the cost would be $748 (finally! A change I like!).
So, dear readers, March 30 through April 4 I will be most delightfully out of the country. I’m flying into Dublin and then taking a coach up to Belfast. I’m beyond excited to see my friend and a new country, and pretty sure it is going to be completely worth the 16 hours of travel on Monday, only to go to work 12 hours after returning. 🙂 Life is short; gotta make the most of it.
Though the thought had been bouncing around in a corner of my mind for a while, this was a relatively spontaneous decision. And I love that.
It has also given me a little pause. I have long been taught and reminded of the concept of being a good steward of what has been given. If death is what deserved, any joy or grace is a gift. And with that gift, the best thing I can do is use it to in turn bless others and point them to Christ.
I’m not sure how my love for traveling fits into that paradigm.
When I was planning what to do and where to go last year (and then went to Panama), I decided against pursuing something specifically mission-oriented. I needed to make enough money at least to live on, wherever I was going, and I didn’t feel qualified to serve or justified to ask for support at that time.
Now, as I am reading 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa, the stories have repeatedly bowled me over.
Not that I’m going to refund my ticket, but how can I conscionably spend $700 on a leisure trip when that amount could send dozens of children orphaned by AIDS to school. Or provide drugs to victims suffering from AIDS.
I think it’s going to be a lifelong struggle, the wrestling with the seeming imbalance between being a generous steward and receiving blessing.
But I accept that. I’ll go to Ireland and have an amazing time. And whether I “should have” used that money for something else is kind of irrelevant at this point. What’s more important that I don’t close my eyes to the inconsistencies in my life, and that I embrace the complexities of life and loving others. Getting it all right is impossible for me to achieve, but by the grace of God I’ll keep moving in that direction.