Thursday, July 4, 2013

Enjoying the Journey

Travel is part and parcel of the cross-cultural life, but let’s face it, most of us dislike airplane and car travel. We look forward to arriving at our destination, but the actual trip is a drag.  Last month I took two trips: a 27 hour airplane journey over 10 time zones from Izmir to Los Angeles to stay 6 days and come back, and then a 9 hour car drive to stay at the beach for 2 days before returning home.

I dreaded our first day of air travel because it included a 5 and a half hour layover in Munich. 

To my surprise it was an eye-opening epiphany.

On the way to the airport a thought came to me: “What if I just decided to enjoy the trip, long flights, layover and all?”  After all, I’m a busy home schooling, church planting mother. Why wouldn’t I enjoy the chance to sit down, read, watch movies, eat, and sleep? That decision to enjoy the trip changed my day, and even the dreaded layover turned out to be pleasant. My husband and I had an interesting bistro lunch and spent hours reading, something we never find time to do.

Two days after our return from California, it happened again.  Still jet lagged, I was cringing at the thought of a 9 hour car trip, but my husband and I decided to take our time and enjoy the trip. When we stopped at a road-side tea garden, we met with a little serendipity.  Sipping delicious hot tea under some cherry trees, our eyes were opened to the beauty of the moment. We heard the wind sailing through the trees and felt a cooling breeze. It was a perfect moment that we could have easily missed.  It lifted our spirits and cheered us on for the rest of the trip.

Life is full of journeys.

We have dreams and goals we want to accomplish. Most of our time is spent on our way somewhere or working towards something, but the sweet taste of victory is short-lived.  My husband spent 5 years working to complete his doctorate, but the graduation ceremonies lasted a short 3 days.

Sometimes the road seems long, and our anxiety about arriving at our destination is great. We forget to enjoy life where we are because we’re focused on where we wish we were. I don’t want to miss out on life by always wishing I was somewhere else.

So How To Enjoy the Trip?

  • Adopt a Positive Attitude. If you start acting happy, you’re more likely to feel that way.
  • Find little things to take pleasure in each day
  • Be grateful
  • Enjoy the process while you work on your goals
  • View actual travel as a delightful part of vacationing, even when things go wrong!

What about you? Are you going on any long trips or working on any long-term projects this summer? What are your thoughts on enjoying the journey?


Michele said...

Glad to hear that you've arrived safely and enjoyed the TRIP!

OliveTree said...

Thanks, Michele!

us5 said...

good to see you blogging again. :)

and YES, YES, YES!! i'm learning these same lessons; to savor the moments. even the 3 hours waiting in the dentist office became a luxurious opportunity to read. :D thanks for the encouragement to look for grace in all things.

De said...

I needed this reminder today. With one bag packed and a few more to go, we are only days away from our return trip after a short stateside visit. Even though I look forward to getting back, I've been dreading the travel. You encouraged me to focus on savoring His goodness along the way.

Linda said...

Bless you! I've been praying for your travels, and for safety for all in your land of service.

P.S. If De reads this, "De, I'm praying for you, too!"

OliveTree said...

Hope your trip turns out to be better than you expect, De! And thanks for your prayers, Linda. I so appreciate it.