This first post after a long dry spell seems like I’m starting over from scratch. I’m at once filled with lots of things to write about and nothing to write about all at the same time.
A week ago I returned from both a fantastic trip and an incredibly frustrating trip to Papua New Guinea.
I got to travel with a great team. We met up with absolutely awesome colleagues who currently call Papua New Guinea home while I was in country for a mere blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 8 days. I ate grubs and tried cooked bat and sat in the presence of saints who have dedicated themselves to making sure that their community has the Bible in a language they can use and understand. It was a personally and professionally stretching trip, and I am absolutely grateful for the experience.
But the travel was awful. Truly. I do not wish our travel “situations” on my worst enemy. On the way there, nothing except our first and last flight went according to plan (there were 5 flights before we reached our destination). On the way out, I had to leave a team member and friend at the airport because of ticketing issues. Nothing says “Travel Logistics Expert” like leaving a man behind. (Good thing I don’t aspire to that title.)
I completely understand why some people are tempted to deck the ticketing agents.
And then a brick of guilt hits my stomach, because I’m essentially complaining about the privilege of traveling. I have a job, and this job affords me the chance to swim in the Pacific at the beach in Wewak and walk around the beautiful city of Brisbane and visit dear friends in California on my way back.
In the grand scheme of things, my travel complaints feel petty. But at the time, and to a smaller degree, even still, they are real stressors.
How do you balance frustrations like these—what some people may label “first world problems” because they’re unique to the privileged masses of the developed world? At the same time, they’re hallmarks of the life we live, and on a very real level, they are very real problems.
I read this article recently that started my thinking along these lines. While this particular piece is from the perspective of a mom who wants to raise her children to be self-reliant and self-aware with a healthy view of the world at large, I think in some ways there’s something in it for all of us. How do we stop whining about things that don’t matter? Or do we need to? Who even gets to decide what matters and what doesn’t?
In light of all this, answering the honest and inquisitive question of “How was your trip?!” is a bit hard to do. The trip was great. I have to focus on the mountain of good things that came about from the trip. Otherwise, I start the dangerous downward spiral of negativity. And no one needs that.
P.S.—Hopefully I’ll provide a more detailed report on the trip sometime soon, but I wouldn’t hold your breath for it.