I’ve always liked to travel. Every country is interesting in one way or another.
Meeting new people of a different culture, trying to understand their way of thinking and their way of life; visiting old friends on return trips; seeing great scenery, tasting new foods – I never get bored when I’ve travelling (except on a 24-hour plane journey!).
My wife and I took 250 people to England twenty years ago and 100 to Kenya the following year. I’ve taken friends on trips to England, Europe and Africa. Two years ago, I took a friend and his son on a week-long trip to England. We had a great time visiting military sites, castles, forts and, of course, pubs (only those of historical interest, of course!).
During our 36-year career in full-time ministry we had a lot of opportunity to travel. Even before we were hired by our church and sent to Ghana in west Africa, we lived in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). After Ghana we moved to England for a few years, then back to Ghana for a second assignment. During our African assignments we were able to visit other neighboring countries, like South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda.
Growing up in England and then pastoring in that country we also got to travel in Europe. I was even able to go to Russia on two occasions during the communist period.
I often hear people say they would like to travel but few ever get around to it.
I remember one conversation with a man who envied the fact that I had recently visited England. He said he could never afford it on his income. As we talked, it turned out his income was greater than mine. As we continued our conversation I learned that he withdrew $20 a day from the ATM for his daily needs. This included coffee, muffin and morning paper, lunch and a six-pack of beer to take home (the latter was not every day). This was twenty years ago when $20 was more than twice what it is today.
I did some quick math and worked out that the total amount he spent in a year on these “incidentals” was $5000, at the time enough to take his wife and children on a trip to England. He had never thought about it that way.
I haven’t seen him in many years, but I doubt he made the changes necessary. I also doubt that he ever made it to England.
But you could.
If you can’t save up the money to buy an airfare, you could get a credit card that gives you miles instead of cash back. You’d be surprised how soon you can save up enough miles for an international airfare, if you put almost everything on the card, including gas and groceries, even those “incidentals” my friend talked about.
England is actually a very good choice for Americans to make as a first overseas trip, as they speak English. It’s a little different from American English. Sir Winston Churchill once said of the US and Britain that “English is the common language that divides us!” but you should be able to understand most people.
England and America share a common history – and everywhere you turn in England, you see history (castles, cathedrals, ancient ruins, palaces, stately homes). This is true of all of Europe.
If you need any advice, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to get a group together for any of the places mentioned above and need a tour guide, let me know. I’d be interested!