What’s in Your Carry On?

Suit case

Image by jetalone via Flickr

Three days, three cities this week. Chicago, Detroit and then on to Boston. 

While I hate being away from family and the comforts of home, I do not have any trouble passing the terminal waiting time observing my fellow travelers.

First we share the common indignity of the security checkpoint, now with the added benefit of knowing that a stranger has had the duty of examining my electronically stripped  naked, 45 year-old physic. I hope it was only my imagination that heard a muffled TSA agent’s snicker.

Once declared a non-threat to national security, we herd to our holding area. Guided by TV monitors and sometimes encouraged by disembodied, amplified voices in various languages. Often reminded to watch your step, the moving walkway is about to end. This is where my fun begins.

I am usually early and begin my study of human behaviors. The lovers, the strangers, the families, the business people and the vacationers all pass in review as anonymous entries in my secret parade. I play spot the tattoo and try to guess the meaning behind the marking. I make up wild possibilities between travel companions and try to spot who will be the unlucky stranger to spend the next several hours rubbing shoulders and thighs with me once airborne. As a super-sized traveler myself, I am sure many people are praying not to share my row on the plane.

In Boston, I mindlessly surf the Internet while attempting to covertly translate an heated conversation between two foreign teens in a language even more foreign to me. I finally decide the topic is either pop culture or geo-politics and admit my defeat.

The most intriguing aspect of watching my fellow travelers is the fact that many are overburdened with what they deem as life essentials and must pull or carry in the form of carry-on luggage. If you travel you well know that you are allowed only two personal carry-on items and the items must fit securely in the overhead bin or completely underneath your seat due to FAA regulations. Let the cramming and slamming begin as we try to fit too much of our stuff into too small of a space.

I’m a light packer. My briefcase was long-ago retired for a Swiss backpack. My overhead-friendly roller-bag fits nicely into all but the smallest commuter jet’s overhead compartments. I take only what I need…at least that’s what I tell myself.

This trip’s carry-on items included an three untouched magazines and one untouched presentation that needed editing. I wonder how many other people are literally dragging their life with them wherever they go in their over-packed, extra money to check, suit cases. Vacation? Bring some work correspondence along or maybe some light reading trade journals. Where ever we go…there we are and most of the time we are packing our unneeded stuff right along with us.

Those are just the suitcases we can see because we each are no-doubt pulling many invisible suitcases and trunks chained to ourselves in the form of stainless steel memories. Burdens, fears, phobias, bad relationships, mistakes, sins and secret guilty pleasures all get past security and end up weighing our spirits down. It’s the hardest job of life, deciding what to leave behind for good.

What’s in your baggage that could probably be left behind? A simple choice to leave it is all it takes to lighten your load. For Christian believers such as me, we believe that Jesus is our Sky-Cap and is willing to gladly take on our unwanted baggage for free. All we need to to is ask for his help. No tipping required. It really is the best travel deal going.

Maybe you can choose to at least unpack and leave some unneeded history behind. Where you’ve been does not have to dictate where you’re headed. You get to choose your destination in life!

Remember to please watch your step, because the moving walkway is coming to an end sooner than any of us travelers want it to. Connecting flights offer may travel options in life. But ultimately all our travelling ends at the same terminal.  And as our flight steward St. Peter says, “we know you have many travel choices. Thank you for choosing to fly with us. We hope you enjoy your time in this fair city and if this is your final destination, welcome home.”

Send me a post card when you get there. Be aware that  there is limited room in the overhead, so check your bags .Welcome to a place where you choose to live a Fired Up Life!

Safe travels! God’s speed.


About Andrew W Dix, MS, BCC
Author, Board Certified Executive Business Coach, Trainer, Reiss Motivation Profile Master and Private Pilot. Expertise in motivational intelligence, leadership development, strengths, management, coaching, and change management. Available for keynote addresses.

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