Traveling Light

Traveling Light: (Audio)

It’s the bane of most travelers. They pack too much! Been there! Done that! Part of the problem is overthinking what you perceive the trip will require and then covering the bases between A to Z, and then filling in the “what if’s” to take care of those “gotcha” moments…

The older I get, the smarter I get about packing, but that does not excuse me from the way I used to think! A business trip before the days of portable computer devices was fairly easy. Notebook and pen. Then everything electronic required its own specialized equipment and accessories – load up the bag!

On my first trip to Israel, over-loaded! My second? One bag and re-wore often and washed out at night anything required for the next day. A future repeat trip? Backpack. If it doesn’t fit, it ain’t needed!

This got me to thinking about the trip to the end of our life and verifying what’s important the closer I get to my truly senior years. Yes. Stuff is important and my collection of memory pieces carry me forward better than the new stuff you can buy and discard because it quickly becomes outdated.

But when you are overloaded with Stuff,
then you start caring for the safety of Stuff
and are thus limited from the journey you are on.

Yesterday, a grass fire spread through the local community Grand Mound and quickly consumed over 400 hundred acres, including several houses and businesses. One lady is shown at her burnt out home, and this gave me pause to consider what she has lost. Her stuff, home, and cats… Gone. There was no loss of human life, and people are quick to say you can replace stuff, but there are now collectibles turned to ashes.

At a time like this, it’s not the loss of stuff that is harsh, more than the loss of touching that memory that is part and parcel of the past. Archeologists dig for years to uncover a scrap that will tell them something about the past. I’m just saying, having something from my past is very important to me as I age.

A friend who owns a business to help you declutter pointed me to an article that said, “If you have not touched it in 6 months then you probably could get rid of it.” That might be a little severe because I own books, collectibles, and rocks that I will never get rid of it.

Still, somewhere and somehow, we must determine how to travel more lightly in this Stuff Oriented world.

As Jesus sent his disciples on a missions journey, he gives them some quick instructions. On your journey, he says…

“Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage….” (Luke 10:4 MSG)

Whoa! That’s not very much! Well, it’s essentially what they can carry on their person and there’s nothing to slow them down! Especially if they were not welcome.

Maybe this is a key. If we are Traveling Light then we are prepared to move at a moments notice and go where we are needed. Quicker. I’m thinking about those Conestoga wagons that crossed the North American continent blazing new trails and looking for fresh opportunities. The pioneers’ trail was littered with things that lost importance the further along their way. Start with a lot, end up at your destination with only the things you need the most.

This makes me wonder. What do we need the most? 

This is a deep subject that may take a lot of time to consider. Beyond the things I take for granted, you know, Family, God, Bible… I need to know what’s important enough for me to potentially sacrifice my own safety because I value it so much. In fact, it’s a process that produces anxiety in many as they go down a mental check list of identifying what’s the most important thing to save.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are encouraged to have some bare essentials prepared in a case of an emergency. You know. Fire. Volcano. Lahar. Earthquake. Flood. Life ending emergencies. The Motto repeated often? “Be Informed, Plan Ahead, Take Action.” [Source] The short list contains the bare life-sustaining necessities, and then you start adding on the personal items for medicine, pets, escape vehicles, etc.

A “go bag” for those times you have to be mobile, and a “stay kit” in case you have to shelter in place. Different needs for different events. The CDC, Red Cross, and virtually all emergency agencies have things for you to consider. You can check out Ready.Gov to get your emergency preparedness started.

Of course, you have to be up-to-date and refresh these supplies along the way so they do not become stale or useless. Just saying. Stay current on your supplies and be ready to vamoose in a moments notice if needed!

One last thought on the motto above…

  1. Be informed: Don’t live in the dark away from the news that could prepare you for life emergencies. Quickly, an earthquake could signal a tidal wave and if you live close to the ocean you may have to make some pretty significant choices! Watch those videos from the Japan Earthquake and subsequent Tidal Wave of March 11, 2011. It’s a lesson in being ready because you are informed.
  2. Plan Ahead: Just like the Boy Scouts motto of my youth, “Be Prepared.” Consider all the possibilities and have a plan for each one.
  3. Take Action: Being informed and having a plan helps you know what action to take. Evacuation routes, emergency connection points, and backup plans in case of change. In the middle of your crisis, you have only moments to consider what to do, and which way to go.

I’m just saying, this morning, keep your light traveling shoes handy. You never know what the next moment will bring.