I am not a very happy camper when I am traveling. Personally, I would rather stay home and just enjoy the home surroundings. There is plenty to do at home; I do not need to go traipsing all over the world to find something to do.
However, sometimes it is necessary to do some traveling for business sake. But it sure is not a relaxing experience for Yours Truly. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has often said, "Why don't we take a trip so we can relax?"
Why, indeed! If I want to relax, and I often do, I have a very comfortable chair in my living room where close to me are all the worldly comforts I need. And the most important thing, it does not cost me anything to sit in my chair.
I'm not a relaxation connoisseur, although I do have my moments. I just have worked out most of the bugs in my relaxation repertoire. Nothing fancy, just good old-fashioned repose to the point of my personal satisfaction.
The only good thing about traveling is coming home and finally relaxing in my easy chair.
For me, I find many unpleasant things about traveling to give me no end of grief.
To start, there is purchasing the airplane ticket. Now, for the convenience of the consumer, travel plans and tickets may be purchased online. I know why they do this. The cost of the ticket is so much they are ashamed to look you in the face. An impersonal "click, click" on some website is much more to their liking.
The latest ticket I purchased had a refund policy. The cost of the ticket would be fully refunded if I died on a Thursday between 2:15 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. But I would have to apply for it in person, with a note from my doctor.
Then there is the problem of packing my luggage. Either I pack too much or not enough for the entire trip. Nothing frustrates me more than running out of clean underwear halfway through a trip. The last time this happened, I went to the store to purchase new underwear, which was embarrassing. I took the package to the counter to pay for it and the woman looked at me and smiled... knowingly. I hate those knowingly smiles.
My difficulty is, I never know what I am going to need when I travel. One time I allowed my wife to pack my luggage for me. To this day, I do not know what she thought I was going to do with nylon stockings. After all, they were not my size.
Once I get my luggage packed with everything I will need, that is only the beginning. I then must surrender at the airline terminal, my nicely packed luggage to strange people. When I say strange, I really mean devilish strange. They are the ones that put "terminal" in the airline industry. For instance, I have one piece of luggage that I have not seen since 1987. That suitcase has seen more of the world than I could ever dream of seeing.
There must be a luggage heaven somewhere where all the luggage that disappears finally arrives and waits for someone to claim them. Perhaps that will be one of the surprises when we get to heaven to find all the luggage we had lost waiting for us in heavenly anticipation.
Another problem I have with traveling is the matter of eating. No matter how good a restaurant is, it is not like eating at home. For example, when I am eating at home if I have to burp, I burp. No problem.
In a restaurant, it is a different story. When I have to burp, I have to pretend I dropped my fork and bend over to pick it up, hoping nobody will catch on. And everybody knows some foods require burping to facilitate digestion, which is why so many socially etiquette minded people have heartburn.
Also in restaurants, there is the expectation of a tip. Who in the world ever thought up this pagan ritual? And I mean no slight to the pagans. No matter what restaurant I eat in, they always await a tip before I leave.
I think about the worst thing for me in traveling would have to go to the airplane seats. It is my understanding that the United States has outlawed torture. Has this news not reached the airline industry?
Sitting in an airplane seat for more than three minutes amounts to torture of the utmost kind. But if you think these seats are torture, just pay a visit to the men's room. Actually, it is not a "men's room," but rather a dysfunctional closet for disfigured space aliens. It is virtually impossible for me to conduct any kind of "nature business" in such accommodations.
At home, I revel in a bathroom designed for my personal luxurious gratification. I even take a book for I know I will spend some quality time in that spacious room devoted to my comfort.
The only good thing about traveling is the joy I experience in coming home. I understand what Paul meant when he wrote, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV).
Travel, like life, has its hardships and grief, but there sure is no place like home.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.