15 Dec 2014

Traveler's Views and Notes

~ an expensive trip for a frugal soul
the last two years we made long, costly trips. in 2012 i felt we needed to visit my brother in the USA. thankfully we did and enjoyed precious memories together: trying to ski, sitting by the fireplace, talking about the American elections, and most of all, the late night talks between us, about God. I still remember praying for snow for my son who has never seen that most magical sight: a snowfall. and just an hour before we needed to ride to the airport; there they came, floating down, gently at first! we grabbed our coats and dashed out the house to dance about in the falling of water in most beautiful forms! Hope seemed to bounce about us.

last june, i made a similar trip - but to bid him adieu from this side of heaven. a very different trip - back to the same lovely house of his on his sprawling yard; but this time it was sorting things out, crying, some laughing and as the family members poured in, food and more food; and more tears even as Grace wrapped around us and wove some fresh bonds.

earlier this year, the hubs and i while talking realised we never ever did have what is called a 'sabbatical'. still, we were grateful for the many pit-stops over the years to refuel and stay sane. then we thought, why not go to the one place we both love alot; and now that the kids are older, they will appreciate it more. New Zealand. Land of seas, sounds and sheep! 

but as i began to plan, i struggled. drawing out money to pay for trip to be with people we love makes sense to me. going on a trip just to enjoy ourselves felt so indulgent; especially when i am still learning Jesus' heart for the poor. i felt this strange conflict brewing in me. i wasn't sure where to place the line. my children have asked me before, "are we rich?". at first, my answer was "no". we were not rich by Singapore standards, when compared with many of our peers. But then, more recently, i have told them we are; because more than 80% of the world live with less than $10 a day.

so i kept checking back with the hubs our budget. can we really do this? 

we did it. we paid a tidy sum to-just-rest. it seems rather silly; but this is the state of our world. it tires
 us out so much. 

we skipped around animal poo on farms and talked with llamas, deer, sheep, chickens, ducks, seals, dogs, cats.. we drove or sat in an 11-hour train journey and went ooo and aah over the endless stretches of sea, rolling tussocks, sheep and cattle. we cooked and ate when we were hungry and basked in the long summer hours, exploring lakesides and glaciers. it was a lot of fun! we felt so enlivened to be so immersed in the beauty and power of creation. 

i had told the children why we are taking the trip: that we have both love the vast land; that there will be plenty for them to experience, that we will build great memories. i had reminded them of the expense and our values of not wasting and although i had thought to give some a little pocket change to spend; in the end, they both held back and didn't spend a cent on purchases! we came back just with ourselves, fattened by our wonderful experiences.

despite my inner struggle with the cost, amid the fears of spending alot and not getting a good return, the real and present danger of having to manage little tiffs and skirmishes of the heart..this was a trip held by Peace.

it was not so much about going away to get; but a making time and space to go deeper into something God had been seeking to deposit in our lives. Some times, we have to break our rhythms and even escape the scene to see and feel God's gifts deep enough they enter our beings.

At one point, i felt as if God himself stood between me and all my questions and anxieties and shielded me from the raucous soul-noises and just let me en-joy. a true vacation is one where you vacate the scene and just be.

and like the waters that are still reflect all the grandeur and beauty here, a quieted soul can take in the light and shape of all that is around and let them express without distorting them as rushing waters would.

~ wow, we did that?
i have a fear of heights while the hubs gets sick from motion. but i mounted a horse that must have been twelve hands tall and we took a small ski plane up to walk on snow upon ice! a lot of the time we felt too cold than we were used to; but mostly the weather permitted us to drive safely and enjoy the activities we did.

at mount cook, we were told the winds could get so strong that once the hotel windows all blew in and crashed. the hotel is solid reinforced steel and quite metallic and ugly-looking in order to survive the wild winds that come with such virgin territory. for the four little Singaporeans dizzy with delight? we had that "one fine, fantastic day" to fly out into the mountains the guide told us. 

young explorers at mount cook

without very precise planning {as i am not capable of it}  - we had moved in car, train, ship, horseback and on foot. we had lived in the city, in a monastery cradled in a valley, next to the sea, in the mountains and in a forest with deers around us!

Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination ~ Drake.

Travel well friends!

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