I've never been one of those people who needed to do the backpack-across-Europe thing. I've always wanted to drive across Canada and see my own land first as it is vast, varied and beautiful.
But my trip to Vietnam last summer made me want to travel and experience cultures that are different than mine (though I am not Vietnamese, I could relate to the cultural values a lot being raised to think more Chinese than I may realize most days). The Territories of Canada and Africa were first to come to mind as places that I want to experience that are quite different than what I know.
Today I saw The Constant Gardener. There were many excellent elements of the film, but the cinematography was simply breathtaking and gorgeous. Despite the seriousness and despair of the film's depiction of Africa, it still reminded me of my desire to visit this part of the world. I've always thought it to be a beautiful, colourful and lively people, culture and land. And my favourite animal (the giraffe) resides there!
I'm thankful that my job periodically provides opportunities to travel. May will bring a week in Atlanta, and I just received news today that I will be able to go to New York to help with a conference for work in June... I am excited and grateful for the opportunity as I loved the first taste I enjoyed of it back in 2003. I am a light packer and didn't spare any room for extra shoes so I was trekking around town in my open-heeled shoes (clogs) during the blizzard of the century that happened to coincide with our visit. But because of the blizzard, I was able to meet up with a friend whom I didn't even know was in town who had her work cancelled that day.
I think what I enjoy about travelling is that it gets me outside of myself, my usual routine, and my comfort zone to experience God and his creation in new ways. I've seen God tangibly involved in my travels, protecting me, directing my steps, filling my heart with awe and appreciation for the diversity of his creation of people, cultures and lands. In such a vast world to us, it blows my socks off that God cares for each person on this planet so tiny to him.