Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why Excess Baggage?

Why Excess Baggage?

      The biggest hassle to traveling anywhere is packing and going to the airport. I recently took my best friend to the airport because she was moving to Australia to attend school. She had five large suitcases and three carry-ons, needless to say, she packed last minute and never bothered to weigh the suitcases. At the airport when she put them on the belt at the check-in counter, every single suitcase was overweight. If you've ever had that experience, you know how embarrassing it is to have to open up your suitcases and take stuff out, while the long line of people behind you mutter curses under their breath. I ended up being the friend literally left holding the bags of clothes she had to leave behind.

I couldn't even get mad at my friend for all the bags because she was moving thousands of miles away and  all the excess baggage was necessary. Plus, I'm one of those people who packs multiple changes of clothes for every day that I'm on vacation. And lets not even talk about the shoes because each outfit requires multiple shoe choices. The only time when I try to pack lightly is when I'm on a missions trip and its mandated that I take at least one suitcase for supplies. I've gotten into the habit of also taking clothes and toiletries to give away to the people we encounter. But why only limit donations to missions trip, why not do that every time that I travel. As easy as it is to check the weather at our destination, its just as easy to check out local charities to give donations to. The 'excess' can be turned into a blessing for the locals!  If we dig deep, we can find clothes that we will never wear again to pack, inexpensive toys for kids at an orphanage, etc. Think of a businessman who logs thousands of frequent flier miles traveling around the world on business. He can increase his corporate responsibility by donating supplies to a local village thousands of miles away. A couple on their honeymoon can spread the love to a family on a tropical island by donating household items they no longer need. They also free up closet space for all the items acquired through their gift registry. Its a global footprint of generosity that lingers long after the vacation has ended.

Even if you don't travel very often, you can still participate in the global giving, through organizations such as Samaritan's Purse, which sponsors Operation Christmas Child every year. Below is a video of children all over the world receiving their shoe boxes of toys and school supplies.

Excess Baggage is an idea, its a dialogue between myself and you, my fellow travelers. I want to share the stories of the people that I've met in the places that I've traveled to. I want you to share your stories, comments, and questions about the world and how we can make it a better place...

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