Some of life’s most precious moments happen when we travel. I can remember as a kid skiing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with my family. We had an absolute blast, tearing down the slopes in Colorado. But on the way home a huge blizzard assaulted us on the interstate and stranded us in Kansas. The snow was blowing so hard that we had to pull off of the interstate because we couldn’t see past the hood of the car. We followed a big 18-wheeler off an otherwise invisible exit and found a hotel that still had vacant rooms available that you accessed from the outside. We were fortunate to have a room at all. The blizzard was so bad that in the morning we woke up to snow inside the room! The wind had blown it under the door to form a drift inside our room! There’s a memory I’ll never forget.
And then of course there was my first trip to Brazil. My parents had moved as missionaries to live along the Amazon River and it so happened to be right next to where Ruth’s parents lived, where Ruth grew up. On that trip I heard God clearly speak to me about becoming a missionary. It’s also the time I got unofficially engaged to Ruth. Talk about a memorable trip! Glad I didn’t miss that one.
Trips have a way of impacting us in big ways because we leave behind the normal, everyday life and brave a new world — one where much is unknown and we need to be flexible. We don’t travel because it’s easy — in fact, traveling is anything but easy. We travel to encounter new cultures, new places and new people. We travel to gain new experiences. We travel to open our eyes to the bigger picture; the good and the bad. We have an opportunity to grow: to grow as individuals, to grow as a family, and to grow closer with God. Why do you travel?
Traveling with the whole family is completely different than traveling as a couple or alone. The logistics immediately get more complicated and the woes of travel compound quickly, especially with little kids. We have done very few vacations like these because, quite frankly, with little kids the trips are a lot of work, take a lot of time and can be quite costly (multiply your costs by a factor of 6). At least once during our travels we swear that we will never do this again! (That’s usually at the point where everyone is tired and hungry and there’s no immediate end in sight.)
But once we arrive at our destination and everyone settles down and rests and eats, things immediately turn around. More than any other trip in recent memory, we were able to completely relax and enjoy the resort, Thailand and time together as a family. In this case, traveling together with Ruth’s parents really helped with the kids and we were able to get a better deal per person due to a larger group rate. So there are perks to traveling together as well. Ruth did a great job researching where and when to go to make the most of our time and money. And she had been setting aside money for a long time now to be able to do it without being a strain on our finances.
Now I am looking forward to our next big family adventure. And we don’t have to travel very far to have it.