Barbara and I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Norway and London, England. We saw incredible things and made some beautiful memories.
Most people use vacation for rest, but there was not much rest on this trip. Of the 14 days, only two were a bit laid back, and that was because we were at sea and had limited options. From early morning to late at night, we packed our days. We wanted to experience as much as possible. By days 12 and 13, we were just exhausted but extremely thankful.
Travel always gives me fresh perspectives and new ideas. This trip was no different. I have pages of notes on things I want to improve once back home. Travel also reinforces things I already knew. Here are five things that my recent trip brought back to my mind.
God's Handiwork Is Incredible
Some of the things in nature we saw in Norway were incredible. It was like looking through a magazine or a coffee table book. We saw many of Norway's fjords and a couple of glaciers. The countryside was some of the most breathtaking things I have ever experienced. If you enjoy nature, this is a place for you. The sites reminded me that these wonders did not happen by accident. God’s handiwork is evident every step of the way.
It Gets Dark For A Reason
Most people sleep when it is dark. The night is an opportunity for people and nature to rest and rejuvenate. Our trip took us far enough north in Norway that it never got dark. There would be a couple of hours between 2 and 4 AM where it felt like dusk, but then the sun was up again. The lack of an actual night messed with my sleep patterns. If the sun is up, I am up. Even in London, the sun was rising around 4 AM. I struggled to sleep very long. I need nighttime. Nighttime restores me to work during the day.
Labor Shortages Are Everywhere
It is not just the US struggling with labor shortages and people returning to work. Everywhere we went, there were some of the same struggles. London seemed the most normal of anywhere we have been in the last two years. The cruise line was struggling to get its workforce back to normal. They were probably operating at less than 60% staff. Every port in Norway had those issues. Don’t feel like it is just a local problem where you are. They are experiencing the same pain in other countries as well.
There Are Some Things We Should Do Better
As advanced as the US is in most things, there are some things we should do better. For example, the payment readers in almost every country I visit are portable. This list includes poorer South American countries. When you pay for a meal in a restaurant, they bring the reader to your table, and the card never leaves your sight. This practice is rare in the US. But it is so much safer. There is also very little use of plastic and disposable products. If you do get takeout, it is in paper and not plastic. Do some reading about the struggles plastic is creating for our world. Restaurants serve things in glasses and on plates instead of paper or plastic. It encourages you to sit and eat instead of always being on the move. There are some things we can do better. It does not take a lot of effort or money.
Countries With Less Christian Influence Observe Sunday Better Than We Do
America is a consumer-driven society. Even among Christians. As I have traveled extensively over the last 20 years, I have noticed that countries with much less Christian influence than the US take Sunday as a day of rest better than we do. The majority of businesses are closed. People take the day off. Convenience and consumerism conquer our Sunday in the US, and it doesn’t look much different than the other days of the week. It may be a day of worship, but it is not a day of rest.
These are just some things that ended up in my journal this week. I wanted to share them with you. This is a small world. Enjoy it while you can.