Within the past month, I took a journey lasting well over 24 hours. I covered 10,000 miles in one shot. I travelled by land, air, and sea to arrive at my final destination…and then just a couple weeks later I did it all again.
Both times I ended up 12 hours ahead or behind the time zone I was used to. Both times the new schedule took some getting used to.
But at the end of the day, one of the things I marveled at the most is how I can take a journey of these epic proportions, a journey that for most of human history should have taken years, if not a lifetime…and I can cover it in a little more than a day, using mostly my butt muscles.
I got so tired of sitting. Once we arrived in SE Asia, my tailbone physically hurt for a couple of days, simply from sitting on it so much during the trip. Once we arrived back home, my knee was giving me some problems simply from being ‘immobilized’ for so long on our return trip.
I covered more than 10,000 miles at a shot.
I put actual, physical effort into maybe a mile of that journey, finding our gates at various airports and making the connections at various ferry terminals.
We do live in strange times. We can travel further, with less effort and more quickly than at any other time in the history of creation.
I fear that this ability has deadened us, in a way.
I fear we somehow relate to our world in less than natural ways, when geography is reduced to another obstacle to conquer, and when time is used like fuel to burn for our own purposes.
We had a wonderful time in SE Asia. I loved the food, and the people, and getting to know my in-laws on a deeper level than I ever had before.
I feared for my life on one occasion (more about that in a future post), I sweat more in those two weeks than I have in the past 6 years in northern Ohio (that might be a slight exaggeration…but only a slight one). I met lots of interesting people (one guy who lived in Antarctica before moving to SE Asia!).
I learned the value of water, and I was reminded of the unique flavor that Christianity gives to a culture.
I came to appreciate my own culture more than I have for some time, even as I came to hate it within 20 minutes of landing at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
Each of these things and more warrants a post of it’s own. The long and the short of it is that we’re grateful to be back home after experiencing and learning a lot from being in Asia for a time.