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Verse: The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not. Genesis 24:21 ESV

I’m leaving soon on a short but exciting vacation. A trip overseas. It’s been thirty-five years since I’ve been off the continent and I’m pretty excited. There are rules about women’s clothing in one of the countries I’ll be visiting. As I gather the items I think I need, I also have to make careful choices about what to leave behind. It makes me think that life is like this constant decision-making. Here are some applications.

1. What do I need to be prepared for?

I’ll only be gone nine days, and two are plane travel in which I won’t be changing clothes, probably, so prepare for seven days in most likely a hot, sticky climate. I’m expected to wear conservative clothing for part of the trip, and am limited in the amounts of liquids I can carry. I’ve done some homework, but what does that really mean? I’m not able to plan for every possible scenario, so I have to decide to know how to stand in the moment, be flexible, and be brave.

2. What do I really need?

At this stage of my life, things aren’t so important, but memories are. Pictures are more precious than gifts. The hotels will have some supplies. A need an adapter for electronics. Comfortable clothes, hat, camera, paperwork, money. I need an attitude that’s patient, I need plan A, a plan B, and maybe a plan C.

3. What’s the minimum and the maximum I can handle?

I won’t be checking my bag. I decided that as soon as I decided on the trip. I’m not as young as I used to be, so that means I have to pull my ownbuckle-up weight, and be careful about the things I want to bring home. I’m not much of a clotheshorse. I can wash my underwear if I have to. It’s only a week. Sometimes thinking in segments like that allow me to be handle pretty much anything, as long as I remember to live in the moment, too, and not just wait for something to be over so I can move on.

4. What do I leave behind?

The fourth pair of shoes, redundant blouses, shampoo and hairdryer, excessive worry, the phone that won’t work over there anyway…Sometimes you just have to let go of redundancies, of plan D, E, and F, and if something doesn’t work the way you planned, stop and enjoy the other side.

5. How can I make up for what I’m missing?

Sort of like those old mom and pop stores—if they don’t have it, you don’t need it. What if my Kindle dies and the adapter doesn’t work to recharge it? It has my maps…I guess I can ask the hotel concierge how to get somewhere and order a taxi. The hotel will have shampoo. Someone can help me get cash, or figure out what to do if I have credit card issues. There should always be plain vegetables, fruit, or bread to eat and bottled water to drink. People will be helpful—or they won’t, same anywhere in the world. I’ll do my best, pray a lot, be friendly and courteous, hold Mom’s hand, and hope I don’t lose the SD card.

Photo by harrykeely

Photo by harrykeely

Lisa Lickel About Lisa Lickel

Lisa Lickel enjoys the Wisconsin good life, where she ponders and writes. The author of inspirational novels, she is also the editor of Creative Wisconsin Magazine for the Wisconsin Writers Association.


  1. Can’t wait to hear about your trip! Yes, it’s hard to think about what you need, including the multiple plans you have. Sometimes you have to pray and go with whatever the trip brings.

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