Traveling Heavy

Funny how this:

Reminds me so vividly and viscerally of this:

Sabiha Gokcen Airport Terminal

I started this blog just before I left for a massive and potentially life-changing journey around Europe. I spent a good deal of time thinking about the name, but like many good things (and, often, God) it took a long time for the name strike me suddenly: Traveling Light. Perfect. Multidimensional. I wanted to be a “light” to people as I traveled, making real connections, sharing joy, and inspiring hope.

I also was trying to fit my whole life into two small and easily maneuvered bags. This was easier said than done. I was traveling across climates and seasons, so some variety of wardrobe was required.

And I like books. A lot. Books are not light.

So why does that heavy laden hanger remind me of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport? Because I wore all of that as I traveled through it. Plus my heaviest boots over two pair of socks. Plus a pair of jeans. I was wearing more than 12 pounds of clothing when I flew from Istanbul to London, thanks to EasyJet’s more-restrictive-than-Delta baggage policy. And those books? Left with friends in Istanbul (inspiring me to purchase a Nook shortly after reentry to the States).

Putting these cold weather clothes back into rotation stirred up a whole range of memories. I’m both amazed and dismayed at how material items can carry so much emotion and memory. It’s just stuff. (This is the mantra I repeated to myself over and over again as I bid farewell to several items of  said “stuff” in Istanbul.)

So what have I learned? Good question. Other than the vital difference between 50 pounds and 20 kilograms? I still have stuff. And it seems to breed and have baby stuff when I’m not looking. Despite my eReader, I keep acquiring new books. But it just doesn’t matter. I didn’t wear all those dresses I packed for London, and I threw away a couple pairs of shoes before I came back. I was able to be just as charming and cute in two pair of jeans as I might have been in three.

Some items were packed in the name of “being prepared for anything” (and avoiding spending money on the road). But, guess what? I’ve never managed to be fully prepared for all that life’s thrown at me, and I’d rather face surprises head-on than try to defend myself from them. And as for money, precaution has its place, but in some cases a bigger dose of faith will serve me better.

Lugging 12 pounds of clothing and a precariously full rollerboard bag through Sabiha Gokcen was stressful. I was afraid that my baggage would prohibit me from getting to where I was meant to be going. There’s gotta be a life lesson in that.

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