Sunday, August 26, 2012

Journeys and Traveling

In the past 3 weeks I have traveled by car, van, plane, bus, train and matatu (more on that later) to 3 different continents.  I'll be the first to admit that traveling is both exciting and exhausting.  When you spend hours in an airport for a layover, when the urge to find a perpendicular position to sleep in overwhelms you and when you are pretty sure you smell and look as bad as you think you do the romanticism of being a world traveler has a tendency to wear off. But...the journey is worth it.  Over the next several posts I will share not only some funny and interesting stories about the trip I took to Kenya but also the spiritual and emotional journey that took place.

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." -- Miriam Beard  

I began this journey with a team of 9 other people from West Virginia.   I had met everyone just once but for me that's part of the fun.  I like the challenge and excitement of forming new relationships and friendships. As the rest of the team is from the southern part of the state they traveled through Fairmont to pick me up on the way to Washington Dulles International Airport.  Easy conversations, strange text messages and a quick stop for some Chick-fil-a made the time pass easily enough.

When we arrived at the airport we unloaded our luggage (all 20 pieces plus carry-on's) and headed towards the check in counter. Now I know that not everyone may care about every little detail concerning this trip but I make mention of the luggage because it was the first answer to prayer.  We were under the impression that we could only check one piece of luggage.  When we found out that we could in fact check 2 pieces we were relieved because our luggage was full of cases of bible's that we were taking.  Every one of the small carry-on suitcases would have been overweight so being able to check them saved us a lot of money.  The young man who was checking our baggage also let some overweight luggage through as he asked if what we were taking was for charity. Yes, the soccer balls, frisbees, ropes and other misc. items were definitely going to be put to good use.

Our first flight from Dulles to Amsterdam was on time and relatively uneventful.  Though I had taken a Tylenol PM to help me sleep, my excitement, nervousness and desire to catch up on some pretty cool in-flight movies {grins} kept me awake most of the flight.  We arrived in Amsterdam with about 12 hours to see the sights so we exchanged some money and set out to conquer the sights of the city.  We took the train to central station and then set out walking through the streets.  It was pretty early when we got there so we were able to see Amsterdam wake up. 

I wish I had some really great photos of Amsterdam or some other great story to share about how cool this layover was but I don't.  I was so tired and so incredibly ready for Kenya that the "cool factor" of Amsterdam was completely lost on me.  I felt awful all day long and the walk through the famous Red Light District of Amsterdam made my heart very heavy.  (I am still processing through that experience.)  I am however happy to share that other team members had a very enjoyable time there and that they would have high endorsements for the city.

More to come tomorrow!