The key in the lock turned in my fingers, and I stumbled through my familiar door. Though bleary eyed and exhausted, I knew exactly what to do. My perfect game plan was already perfectly in place.
Think about it - you and I are bombarded with sources, telling us how to prepare for a journey. Tips for Travel are easy to come by. Websites abound! Comprehensive Travel Checklist, How to Prepare for a Trip: 6 Steps, 17 Easy Steps for Planning Your Next Trip, 10 Things to Do Before You Travel, to name just a few. Advice is just a click away for:
How to get a passport
How to pack a suitcase
How to get a visa
How to choose a place to stay
How to exchange currency
How to use public transportation
How to put a hold on your mail
How to prepare a home (don’t forget to turn down the hot water heater)
How to, how to, how to…the list goes on and on and on and on.
How many sources tell us how to return from a trip?
For those of us who live a life of travel (by definition: we spend 50%-plus days away from our home address) the challenge of returning from a trip occupies a significant portion of our schedule and our psyche. Are we set to do the drill or do we leave the 'back nine' to chance?
7 Autopilot Suggestions for Successful Return
Life has taught me it is unwise to leave the procedure to chance. Here is my Autopilot List, a tool honed after decades of travel.
1. Walk in the door, open the suitcase, and grab the dirty laundry. Start the washer with the first load. Knowing the first step makes a marvelous contribution to reentering life at home.
2. Next, unpack the remaining contents of the suitcase and put the suitcase away, out of sight. Now.
3. Check the mail; scan - only scan – items. This is not the time to solve problems delivered by the post. Rather, organize pieces in order of priority to be addressed tomorrow. Not now.
4. Text or talk with a family member, church member or friend, and schedule a coffee or visit as soon as possible. The significance of another human in the reentry process is incalculable. Why? Travel tends to pull up our emotional anchors; we find ourselves vulnerable, tossed like flotsam. Regardless of the success of the trip, a meaningful connection with a good relationship quickly reminds us who we are and where we belong.
5. Refrain from making a big decision until you have spent 24 hours at home.
6. Have a favorite book handy to read; this is both a pleasure and a protection.
7. Go to bed early. Travel fatigue is real and must be combated with the medicine of rest.
Whether your travel is routine or rare, with family or friend, for pleasure or profession:
A game plan for returning home is part of the preparation for departure.
Walking back through the door can be a positive experience, provided you know what to do. Avoid trip let down, and leave home with confidence, knowing that you know how to return.
Above all, Jesus reminds us that He alone is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He is available with supernatural resources to gracefully help us chart the waters from where we have been to where we are.
So, Bon Voyage, Przyjemna Podróż, Gute Reise, Godspeed, Safe Travels. See you when you get back!
Living with eternal intentionality: What have you found to contribute to a positive return from traveling?