Week 37: Wednesday

WEEK 37 : WEDNESDAY

Excess Baggage

They are always a sorry sight. Folks spread out their luggage in the check-in area as others look on, bringing out newly bought gadgets, chocolates, canned goods and bottles of perfume, figuring how to solve the problem of excess baggage. You can hear them bargaining, lamenting, or arguing with the guys in the counter. Some will even try to convince bystanders to share their carry-ons or check-in belongings. Don’t they know the allotted bag weight for every passenger? What especially annoys me is when my overhead compartment is already stuffed with other people’s carry-on luggage, forcing me to put mine somewhere else. And the sad thing is, usually, nobody apologizes or thinks it’s wrong. I guess courtesy is no longer in fashion.

Several years ago, I heard a young woman was investigated by airport authorities for bringing in a suspicious substance. Guess what it was? A bag of Nestea! It was her first time to enter this first world country and my guess is, her relatives told her to bring it, as if there was a shortage of iced tea in the universe. Or maybe because it’s “mura” or cheaper, so “sayang naman.” This act of ignorance caused her to be detained for several days. Imagine the trauma! All because of a bag of powdered iced tea, which is barely even tea at all!

Another observation. Funny how sometimes people tour a place for educational purposes and bring canned food with them. How can you learn about a culture without eating the local food? Food is part of a culture. It is ridiculous to visit South Korea without tasting kimchi and bulgogi, or Thailand without having som tum, tom yum, or khaw phat; or Australia without having a dollop of Vegemite or lamb shanks. We are to eat the food of the land… even if at the end of the day you go searching for a McDonald’s or a plate of rice.

And for what we call in the Philippines as “pasalubong”, it is simply nonsense to bring home products which are already there in the local grocery shelves. And these are just some of the countless reasons why so many people UNNECESSARILY have excess baggage.

Life is really a lot like travel. More often than not, WE PUNISH OURSELVES WITH WHAT WE CHOOSE TO CARRY WITH US. Things and people that have nothing to do with our mission. Activities that do not lead us to wisdom. When I have to carry learning materials from my wanderings, even if I have to pay for the additional weight I carry with me, I don’t call it excess. I need the burden. A wise traveler is not afraid to weed out the unnecessary stuff. He knows what to bring and what to leave behind. His mind is set, his heart without attachments.

And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
Psalm 73:25b

Dear wanderer, TRAVEL LIGHT today.
May your desires be simple.
Your love only One Thing.

(Without You by David Guetta, cover by Boyce Avenue)

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