Just as I have a hundred and one times before I am in the middle of preparing for a trip to Africa. Every trip is an adventure and every trip is different. Even so, there’s a checklist I follow to ensure I have everything I need once I get halfway around the world.
Some wag once said showing up is ninety percent of the battle. I like the sentiment, but showing up takes more effort than a lot of folks might realize. Getting ready for my international trips is a good case in point.
Coordinating schedules and arranging international air travel has become too painful to even discuss. It now takes weeks. But once the trip is set the fun truly begins.
Clothes have to be picked up from the cleaners and laundry done before packing can begin. Then there’s a trip to the bank to get cash. Most of the areas where I travel don’t use credit cards. Oh, and the cash has to be crisp, new $100 bills. Most of the other denominations will not be accepted for fear of them being counterfeit.
After that it is time to check out all the electronics and camera gear. cords? batteries? discs? flash drives? earphones? sim cards? proper lenses? chargers?
Then there’s the paperwork. airline tickets? passport? visas? certificate of immunization? letters of invitation? contact list with phone numbers? travel itinerary, hotel reservations, business materials: business cards, proposals, partnership documents, etc. (and for this trip sermon notes)
After all of that, it’s time to actually pack, once I’ve guessed at the proper clothing necessary for the geography, climate and types of events to be attended. (This trip even requires my doctoral robes for a formal processional.) Then, all that’s left is to throw in necessary toiletries and medicines…oh, I left out immunizations. I won’t even go there.
Hopefully, by the time I head to the airport I have also put a vacation stop on the newspaper and put a hold on the mail. After that I can “relax and enjoy” the 12-30 hours of air travel.
What makes it all worth the effort, and it truly is, is that once I am at my destination I get to be with family I may have never met before. They will be as excited to see me as I am to see them. We will be working together to change the world. And it doesn’t get any better than that.