Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why I Don't Like Traveling

I don't like travel, especially travel involving airplanes. When I was younger, I thought travel seemed really exotic and imagined that a life spent traveling would be really great. Now, after many years of life and work that involved a fair amount of air travel, I no longer think that. I still enjoy visiting new places and getting to know new cultures. What I really like is to be in a place long enough to establish some relationships, so that my connection becomes personal. But I dislike the process of moving from one place to another. I don't like security procedures at airports. I don't like tiny airplane seats. I don't like arriving or departing in the wee hours of the morning.

Most of all, I dislike the person I become when traveling. Airline travel brings out the worst side in me. I become impatient, anxious and my focus shifts totally to myself and those traveling with me (most often my family)--with whom I often become impatient as well. Instead of being compassionate, gracious, and looking out for others, I think of myself and how I can get what I want before someone else gets it. Everything becomes a competition: will I get my space in the overhead bin before someone else fills it? Will I get off the plane fast enough so I don't have to wait as long? Can I get into that line faster than the next person so I can be through security faster? And I worry even more than usual. What if we are delayed? What if security takes so long that we miss our connection? I don't like myself when I travel.

Looking around most airports, I don't think I'm alone in this pattern of behaviour. But that doesn't excuse it. I cannot control how others behave, but I can choose how I will respond to each situation. I want to improve in this area, but it seems like a big mountain to climb. I can take it one step at a time. I can look at those traveling with or around me and try to see them with eyes of compassion, thinking about how I can help rather than how I can get what I want. I can look at people as individuals with needs, feelings and concerns rather than as obstacles to my agenda. Of course that means setting my agenda aside and letting my heavenly Father direct me as I travel, inviting him to help me see the opportunities he places along my journey. I know this would be a much healthier way to travel. Now I need to take the first step.

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