It’s amazing how your perspective on travel can change based on the distance required.
I can remember back when I thought the drive from Savannah to Jacksonville was long, a little over two hours. Then there was the year (while still at UPS) where I commuted by air from Savannah to Denver every week for six months. That seemed like a long trip.
The journey we’re on now began by flying three hours from Savannah to Chicago with a four layover before a 15 hour and 45 minute flight to Hong Kong. Our flight path from Chicago was over the top of Canada, down over Siberia, and across Chinese airspace before arriving in this city, the center of economic business for most of East Asia.
Three more hours in Hong Kong and then another three hour flight into the bustling Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Thirty hours after leaving Savannah, we’re here.
By the time I return to Savannah, I will have flown over 20,000 miles. Now THAT’S a long trip.
But while flying I’ve been reading a book called “Into Africa”, the story of Dr. David Livingstone and his amazing journeys through the heart of that continent.
It amazes me to realize how people today will do crazy things, sometimes endangering their lives, often all for one potentially viral Youtube video. The “look at me” nature of our world is fascinating and often pursued for the most selfish reasons.
But during the 19th and early 20th century, people like Livingstone pursued great and sometimes extremely dangerous expeditions for what they believed to be the common good of our world. Names like Lewis & Clark, John Fremont, Teddy Roosevelt.
At one point in 1858 Livingstone led a journey of exploration and survey up the Zambezi River in southern Africa. The trip took FIVE YEARS to complete; it was brutal and many members of his team died along the way of disease or violence. In fact, his wife Mary missed her husband so much that she traveled from England halfway through the time and joined him along the way; she also died during the trek. Livingstone finally emerged from the adventure in 1864 and the trip was considered a failure by many of his peers.
But a few years later he went back, this time with a goal of identifying the source of the immense Nile River.
Few people realize now that Livingstone was not only a great explorer but at heart he was a Christian missionary. He was an ordained minister and while fame and fortune may have come his way due to the amazing perseverance and commitment his several expeditions demonstrated, at heart he was simply a follower of Christ obeying the command to “Go make disciples of all nations…”
He endured insect bites, disease, a mangled arm from a lion attack and the death of his wife. At the end of his life he was broken physically. But all his life he would wake up each morning, get out of bed and move forward, always with a heart for proclaiming Jesus to those he met.
An amazing man.
Kind of put’s a 30 hour trip to Vietnam into perspective, doesn’t it?