Excess Baggage

There’s nothing worse when you’re at the airport and you hear those bitter words ‘you’ve got excess baggage. What’s crazy is that if you take out a few items like books and take them on as hand luggage, it’s allowed, yet it’s on the same plane.

When we left Sydney a week ago the airport staff let us through without weighing our hand luggage. We spent a day in Fiji before heading on to LA but the lady at the final checkout section was not going to let us through with the same gear. We had to go all the way back to the main counter, hand over one bag not more than 4kg’s and go through the whole thing again. It was such a hassle, when all we had to actually do was take out 2 books, but we were so tired we didn’t even think about it.
We’ve been at the theme parks in Los Angeles for a few days and I’ve found myself in a similar dilemma. Firstly, it’s so easy to over indulge in the less than healthy food available, because it’s so cheap compared to what we pay in Australia. You see the results of unhealthy lifestyles all around you when there are thousands of people walking around Disneyland. Their excess baggage is caused by too much self indulgence.

Even though somebody else paid for our tickets to get in, it was difficult to get pass the fact that what was spent on these alone was more than some families in East Africa would earn in 3 or 4 years.

While we came away with a few momentos, I refused to buy things that will either end up in the bin or become useless dust collectors. Although America is in a recession you wouldn’t think so looking at the amount of money people were spending on their preschoolers to make them look like a princess or the overpriced Disney tee shirts that you wouldn’t wear in the normal world.

Excess baggage doesn’t just have to be at the airport, or a theme park, it’s very easy it be in our day to day lives. We’ve been given this life to enjoy but it doesn’t mean having all the ‘stuff’ we accumulate and then eventually throw out. Each country has amazing parks, beaches, scenery, wildlife, trekking routes and the such that we can spend time with our families at.

Recently a survey in Australia showed that children from less financially able homes were just as happy as those from well off families. It wasn’t the lack or abundance of money that made a difference. It was simply being together with friends, hanging with family members and learning to be happy with what you’ve got.

I know Walt Disney wanted Disneyland to be the happiest place on earth but the whole idea started out by him taking his daughter on dates each Saturday.
Let’s get rid of the things that we don’t really need – negative attitudes, ungratefulness, over indulgence, intolerance, selfishness – as well as having to have the latest thing that comes out on the market.

Travel light, live light.

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25 Years and Still Going Strong

Aside

Well, officially, we haven’t been married for 25 years until December 5th, but because we are leaving the country in a week we thought we’d renew our vows in front of our Aussie family.

We both cried in front of a crowd of 40 people, telling each other how much we cared and how grateful we are to God for how far we’ve come.

So, I thought I’d write something a little different this week and talk on commitment. It certainly hasn’t been an easy journey to get where we are, but one thing I’ve learnt is that without sticking in there, you won’t get great results.

Commitment is treated as a swear word in this day and age. It seems old fashioned, narrow and judgemental.

So, here’s a few pointers for keeping your relationship the best it can be:

  1. Remember, he/she is your best friend.
  2. Laugh lots.
  3. Go out on a date night once a week. When you have kids, take them each out on a date every couple of weeks.
  4. Find similarities, don’t focus on the differences.
  5. Make it a win, win situation.
  6. Forgive fast – don’t let it drag on and on.
  7. It’s nothing like on television – Hollywood is a false world.
  8. Remember that your spouse, or any other relationship won’t 100% fulfil you – that’s God’s job.
  9. Make your spouse a priority.
  10. Have fun – all work and no play is a bad idea.
  11. Don’t try and change them to fit into your mould – the world would be boring if we were all the same.
  12. Realise that you don’t have to like 100% of everything that your spouse does.
  13. Keep your walk close with God, it’s the key to everything.

So, Where Are Those Passports?

It’s always an interesting time when you move house. Some things magically disappear no matter how organised you are.

It happened this week at a really important time. Someone posted on Facebook that they had their ESTA (US) visa to go to the States on holiday. It suddenly hit me that we hadn’t applied for ours yet. Liz, our oldest daughter is paying for the whole family to go to the US for a holiday on the way to moving to Kenya. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary soon, so we’re heading to Disneyland, San Diego Seaworld, Houston, NYC and Washington. While it’s done on a shoestring it will be an absolute blast.

We’d moved out of our apartment in Dee Why by the beach to Turramurra, in the bush a couple of weeks ago. Our good friend Jill allowed the three of us to move in so we could save some money and wrap up a few loose ends. From there, we were repacking before sending off a shipment of our stuff to Kenya.

While it’s easy to loose a hairbrush, how does one loose and important document like a passport, in fact, three of them!!  It seems that the complexities of being on the road are just beginning. By the time we get to Kenya we would’ve not been in a real home for 2 months.  Suitcases just don’t replace a set of drawers. I like to be super organised, everything has a place, so this is driving me crazy!

Thankfully Pete found them, in the very last box we used when leaving our home, which is great because they’re all new. Replacing 3 passports would’ve cost us around $700.

ESTA visa has been applied for, boxes are ready to send, passports are securely in the bedroom – all is well once again.

While our beloved passports have been found, I don’t know where the hairdryer has been left in our travels.