When thinking about what goes into making a trip all it can be, I think that preparation is one of the most important things you can do. It will enhance your trip in many ways; it will expand it, it will enrich it, it will extend it, it will enable it and it will preserve it.
In planning for my trip to China, I have already begun to experience it in many ways. First, I have had to plan where and when I was going. Since I am going with others there was the necessity of coordinating all our schedules and finding a time that would fit all of us. Then there was the destination. In this case, I will be traveling with the others for much of the journey, but then I will be separated from the others for several days and traveling alone to a place that I have never been. That can be daunting to some and exhilarating to others. In my case it is some of both. Fortunately, I will be meeting with someone I know and He knows the place, customs, etc. I will literally be in his hands.
Then there is the securing of my passport (which I already have), the visa (which came in last week, and the plane tickets which have been purchased. These are extremely important as they allow access to this part of the world and determine a lot of your schedule.
Another thing I have done is read up on the places that you will visit and the customs and culture that you will be experiencing. The more you know about your destination, the more that you will enrich the experience. It was enlightening to discover some of the history and current activities where I will be going. One highlight for me is that my destination grows some of the greatest produce in China. Since I have a lot of experience in produce (both growing and eating which I love), this will be a treat for me to taste some of God’s treats that I have never had the opportunity to enjoy before.
Planning on what you will take with you is also important. What you will wear will be affected by the climate you will be in and the customs of the people. Things that you will need like medicine, personal items (make a list and update it regularly), and things that may not be available there that you have need of. Preserving your experience is also important. Your camera, pencil and paper, gifts, etc Think it through and then rethink it again. Don’t fret about it but your anticipation will enhance the actual experience. It will also give you a sense of preparedness that will allow you to enjoy the trip to the fullest.
One of the things that I am looking forward to is the actual flight. I will be flying nonstop to Seoul, Korea, then an hour and 10 minute layover, then another nonstop flight to Guangzhou, China (near Hong Kong), an overnight layover and then on to my final destination (another 5-6 hour flight). Altogether it will be about 24 hours flight time plus layovers. So who in his right mind would be looking forward to such a grueling flight. Me, of course. I have the choice to suffer through it or turn it into an experience that will be of benefit. I simple made the choice to not suffer but to allow myself to be stretched to the point that I will be able to contain the blessing God is giving me. It is a choice, you know, so I plan to spend some time getting to know those with whom I travel with. I plan to do some exercising on the plane so that my legs don’t develop problems that you get on long flights. I also plan to watch the terrain and the people to notice the changes in the land we fly over and to pick up on anything that will help me once I get there. I plan to do some writing while in flight and anything else that will keep my mind occupied. When I have exhausted all other avenues, I may even get some sleep – though it is hard for me to sleep on a plane.
We all have a trip ahead of us that these thoughts could help us prepare for – from here to eternity. We should secure the proper credentials (salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ). The trip won’t take long (a moment, in the twinkling of an eye) so we won’t have to fill time because time will be no more. There are some things that we will want to take, such as our works of faith, our testimony, our hope, our eternal body, etc. that we will need when we get home. We should study the Word of God to teach us about our final destination to make our arrival even more enriching. It will help us to understand what is happening. We won’t need to pack because we will be given a robe of righteousness that will never wear out and everything will be ours to serve our Lord with. There will be no more sorrow or tears and all will be glorious. Don’t you want to meet me there? All aboard!!!