Jun 3, 2008

For the Long Haul

So I have been posting like crazy but it is an effort to keep all of my memories straight. Someone will say something that reminds me of a day in Africa and then that day in Africa will remind me of a conversation I had in Honduras...and it keeps going and going and going.

So in an effort to keep my mind from turning into one big Dairy Queen Blizzard I want to share some things I have learned about international air travel.

What to put in your carry on:
  1. an extra pair of underwear - don't argue, you WILL need them
  2. change of clothes - if you can fit them it's a good idea in case you and your luggage don't end up in the same place at the same time
  3. mp3 player/comfortable head phones
  4. deodorant - you don't want to be the stinky person
  5. toothpaste & tooth brush - this goes along with #4
  6. neck pillow - this is controversial but I am soo glad I spent $1.97 on a blow up one
  7. light weight jacket - hot, cold, hot, cold you will constantly be regulating temperatures
  8. airborne - lots of icky plane germs recirculating in the cabin
  9. hand sanitizer - to clean up before meals
  10. Giant Book of Variety Puzzles - get one at the Dollar Tree they are amazing
  11. journal/bible - there is plenty of time to read and journal on a long flight
  12. gum and lots of it - this goes with #4 but also helps with the pressure in your ears
  13. Advil PM - it helps to regulate your sleep and keeps you from getting all stiff
  14. Med-Peds - travel socks help keep your feet from swelling & help prevent DVT you can get them at Wal-Mart for like $4 (get the over the calf kind)
  15. baby wipes - great for washing your face and giving you that "oh so clean feeling"

OK so that may be a lot of things to carry but it is totally worth it. I am sure I have forgotten things so please feel free to leave a comment and add to the list.

Other Tidbits
  • if you don't cover your bags in prayer and have people praying that all 26 pieces of your luggage make it to where you end up you will probably lose something
  • stay calm
    • even if you are running full speed through the airport trying to catch a plane that has already been scheduled to leave
    • even if you have no idea what is going on
  • know your rights so the airlines can't pull the wool over your eyes
  • be patient
  • be courteous
  • treat everyone with respect
These things may seem like no-brainers but when you have been traveling for 22 hours straight and you miss your connection and no one wants to take responsibility for getting you home and you are hungry and tired and you are a little stinky and your breath isn't the freshest ... you have to make a choice to be sweet. You have to make a choice to help others. You have to make a choice to share your last cliff bar or tear a page out of your puzzle book and give up your only pencil.

It is when we are pulled past our comfort zone that we are given the opportunity to rise up and demonstrate the substance of our character. It is easy to give when it doesn't really cost you anything. The victory comes when you choose to sacrifice your desires so someone else can be happier (maybe even happier than you).

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