Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Meander pattern on the valley floor of the riv...

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The other day in church a friend of mine was telling me about the trips he’s been making since he retired. And, yes, I did say in church. Sometimes this happens. You just get to talking to your neighbor between the worship time and the start of the sermon. This is typically about the time that the collection plates are slowly being circulated around the building like mini wooden flying saucers lazily flitting between one set of hands and another.

My friend has been gone from home longer than he’s been there, and has covered quite a lot of ground since he retired a couple of months ago, traveling from California to Houston, Texas on Highway 10. The same route my son and I went on just last December. Then returning home for a few days before setting out to see the Northwest, where I’d been a few years ago. As the collection plates were passed around we both laughed at the fact that Seattle was warm and dry, not a raindrop in sight when we’d both visited there.

He definitely has the traveling bug for sure, and is planning another trip to the East Coast before too long. But he said, he thinks he’ll fly there instead of driving.

One of the great things about traveling is the fact that you see and experience all sorts of things that you wouldn’t necessarily know existed if you hadn’t gotten out of your own backyard. Of course, I think driving is the best way to really see things, because, well you’re at ground level and can see things, walk through towns and learn about all the weird and quirky ways that things are discovered and come to be.

I have a writer friend, Sunny Lockwood, who’s just started a series of travel books for the older traveler. She’s named it the “Not So Fast” series and it focuses on meandering through towns that she and her husband visit at a walker’s pace that allows you to just relax and enjoy the unique things that every town, large or small, has to offer.

Someone who has achieved retirement status herself, she said she chose to write this type of meandering, slow travel guide because there are so many people her age who want to just take it easy when they travel, not run through a town making sure they’ve seen everything there is to see so they can check it off their list, before moving to the next town like a lot of younger people do.

Her most recent publication is “Not So Fast: Meandering Through Soda Springs, Idaho” in which she takes a slow pace through the town that features a huge geyser that was discovered while someone was digging  a hole for a swimming pool, along with the historic Enders Hotel with what looks to be a zillion stuffed and mounted animal heads on its walls, including that of a white buffalo with what seems to have had a devil-may-care attitude when he was alive, among other interesting travel tidbits that you would only see if you were going through a town slowly.

A glaring benefit of taking things slowly, whether you’re traveling or not, is that you actually get to experience things, not just do them. And, this is no more so apparent than in our relationships with the LORD. It seems to be in our nature to sort of run through the motions, checking everything off on our relationship-with-God checklist.

Prayer? Check.

Morning quiet time? Check.

Church on Sunday? Check.

Sunday School? Check.

Family Night? Check.

The list goes on and on, then at the end of it when we a have a nice little line of check marks in a neat little row, we can’t quite figure out why we’re not only burnt out, but we’re no closer to the LORD. It’s like we run in circles, then look up to see that we’re right back where we started, no closer to Him, just worn out after all that effort.

Even though we’ve made a valiant effort at running around and doing what we think we should, the reality is that we haven’t given ourselves, or Him, the time we need to actually sit and be with Him. And, in the process, slow down enough to actually experience Him and what He is actually like.

A relationship with Him is not a sprint, but a slow meandering journey that will take us to all sorts of places we could never have imagined, allowing us to discover of amazing things, if we just slow down and walk with Him.

“A man’s steps are established by the LORD, and He takes pleasure in his way.”

Psalm 37:23

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Location in the state of California

Image via Wikipedia

Just recently I was working on a travel story about some of the very cool places that tourists and locals alike can stop at on Highway 49 near where I live.

There are so many little gold rush towns on that highway in the California Mother Lode that hold a wealth of history, beautiful old buildings and interesting shops, that I thought it would be a wonderful story for the readers of the publication I work with.

That was until I actually started working on the story and started running through these towns at breakneck speed. I knew I only had a finite amount of time to gather the information and photos that I needed to make the story an interesting guide for those who want to take a day trip through the area.

Now, I’ve been through many of these little towns, like Sutter Creek, Jackson and Drytown before, and really enjoyed them. But, at those times I didn’t have a job to do. So, I just wandered through with friends and family enjoying the towns and all they have to offer.

There was nothing expected of me at those times except to just enjoy the experience, which is what I’ll convey in my story because if you have the time, it really is nice to just wander through these towns and have a guide to refer to. But, the reality of what it takes to put that story together is very different from the reality of the story itself.

A good friend of mine who has had a varied and interesting career trajectory – including being very involved in the world of politics – has always said if you like sausage or politics don’t look too closely at what goes into them, just enjoy them for what they are.

I’ve since heard this saying in regards to a variety of subjects, but you can just as easily apply it to life in general, with all of life’s strange ingredients, including the beautiful and the ugly and the uplifting and the painful.

And, really no matter what the ingredients of life are, there is only One who can truly turn them all in their totality into something that is a wonder to see, and that is the LORD Himself, you just might not want to look too closely at it all during the process.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

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