I recently traveled 69 hours from Seoul to Atlanta. Yes, 69 hours. Instead of taking my usual non-stop flight home, I took 5 flights.
Why? My friend offered me a Delta Buddy Pass that let me fly internationally at a reduced price.
The catch? All standby. No flight or date is guaranteed.
The route is pretty much up in the air (no pun intended). I didn’t know which cities I would be transiting at next until minutes before the gate closed. I learned much, including that sometimes the 14 hours direct flight home is worth the money! Needless to say, the long journey allowed me abundant time to journal paragraphs and pages of tips for anyone who wants to fly on a Buddy Pass…and also some life lessons realized:
1) Pack lightly. You can’t check in bags but you can bring carry-on’s. Having less belongings will especially make the transits more convenient. You won’t know the distance between the arrival and departure gates or how much time you will have to connect to your next flight. The lighter the load, the faster you can run!
2) Tuesdays and Wednesdays might be great days to fly standby but not during peak season. Though choosing a specific day to fly may be advantageous, knowing the seasons are even more strategic. On a similar note, it’s important to recognize not just Chronos but also God’s Kairos timing in your life.
3) Waiting is part of the journey. Don’t waste the waiting.
4) Know your destination, but it’s ok to not know everything in between here and there. In fact, sometimes, what you know is all that you need to know at the time.
5) Be flexible and stay flexible. There may be a detour in the route and delay in the timing. Actually, there may be many detours and delays.
6) It’s good to have people who journey with you. (Though I was physically alone, it made such a difference to have friends on Kakao!) Friends make the journey bearable and even enjoyable.
7) It is what it is. No matter how sweetly I talked to the employees in hopes to get a seat on the next flight, a full flight was a full flight.
8) Thankfulness makes quite the difference. Counting my blessings instead of complaining with bitterness helped so much, especially when I was sleeping overnight in a frigid airport on an empty stomach…a few hours after experiencing an earthquake. God protects and provides. Yes, He does.
9) Everyone is trying to get somewhere. Where are we headed?
10) Enjoy the journey. But remember what a journey is- an act of traveling from one place to another.
11) Our home isn’t here. It’s There.
12) Until we reach There, we are just passing through here.
Words fall short to describe how it felt to finally be home. I imagine that one day when I reach There, absolutely no words will be able to fully detail the sheer sweetness of being Home.
Until that day, I’ll just be a sojourner on standby.
-- E. Lee
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