Starting in 2002, right after we moved to Africa, Tom and I began taking turns traveling back to the States each year to visit with sponsors and family. Because of the cost of traveling with 8 people, it always had to be just one of us while the other stayed in Africa with our six kids.
The U.S trips were usually 6 weeks to 2 months long.
Aside from one very short plane trip within Zambia in 2008, Tom and I hadn't traveled together, via plane, until this past January. When our entire family was invited by a church to attend a missions conference we were really excited that we could finally travel together again.
What we didn't fully anticipate (although we discussed it a bit) was the fact that we are both very independent people who have established travel rituals that are important to our journey. While we didn't have any real problems, it was a bit like traveling with a brand new partner. We had to negotiate almost every part of the trip because we were both used to taking our own lead and doing what we wanted or needed to do without input from anyone else.
This past week I was reading Misadventures with Andi and she had two links relating to travel rituals and routines. The first article was written by Andi and titled Warm Up Rituals and the other by Consumer Traveler entitled Travel rituals.
Some of my rituals are that I have tomato juice on every flight (if possible). It doesn't feel like a real flight without that traditional drink. No ice, no lemon, just straight up tomato juice. Wonderful. I also pray the Lord's prayer and quote Psalm 23 each take off and landing. Usually during landing, because the landing takes longer I will pray for the pilot and the machinery too.
I watch movies or read but rarely sleep no matter how long the flight. I can't sit still and just think so I have a book very handy so as soon as the in-flight entertainment is turned off, out comes my book.
Tom has a routine of taking a sponge bath including washing his hair and changing his shirt just before landing. He loves the fact that he gets off the plane feeling as fresh as, if not more so, when he got on the plane. Many people are curious how he pulls off this feat in a tiny airplane bathroom. All I know is he does. He makes sure to have his toiletries bag and clean shirt placed just so in his suitcase so he can reach up into the overhead compartment and pull both things out quickly and easily.
He also loves to take pictures of taking off and landing so prefers a window seat. But, he also wants to be one of the first off the plane and for that, prefers an aisle seat.
We were mostly able to do our little rituals although occasionally we had to switch seats so that one (*cough*Tom*cough*) was able to be in the optimal seat for their prescribed ritual time.
What about you? When you travel, whether by air or road, do you have certain rituals that make the trip perfect?