Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trip to France on a budget: my personal train angel

It's about perspective I guess. When people thinking of traveling, all they can think about is high class travel with luxurious accommodations.
If you think about it, average one-income families like us should not ever travel, if going expensively is the only option. So, I've been thinking about this. I realize not everyone has a husband whose main job is overseas customers, so I'm going to explore options beyond my present circumstances.

The most expensive thing about traveling is usually getting there. Even though Will was there on business and I went on miles, there are other ways to get places cheaply. My hairdresser loves to go to Europe every year. She waits for the rates to go down, locks in by buying her tickets around that schedule. She always travels on the off season, and she only goes to the country that she can get the best rate. We have other friends who purchase everything on a credit card that gives miles for rewards. You have to be the kind of person who can handle credit cards (not many are) and be committed to paying everything off in order to get the miles with a clear conscience.
We were, by far, the youngest "tourists" of the people we met. It seems that most people wait until retirement to travel, but retirement may not ever happen for this family. My motto is: strike while the iron is hot! and go when you have the opportunity..
It takes a slightly adventurous spirit to travel also, especially if everything isn't all laid out for you like the expensive tours do. I found myself really relying on the Lord for a lot of things. I'm not saying that you shouldn't plan, but even with the best plans in the world, things can go awry.

I'm thinking about my trip home. I think I told you that I was traveling alone because my husband was already there and planned to stay a week later to do work. So, the trip on the plan is fairly straightforward. You know, you go through the checkout, passport, take the shoes off routine, and get on the plane. Ride for 7--9 hours and land in Paris. It's when you land that there's some unknowns. From Paris, I had to take the train to Dijon, and then the taxi to the hotel.

Well, on the way home, Will drove me to the train station and I was planning to take the 6:20 train to Paris. Because it was so early, I was not able to buy the ticket at the counter and U.S. credit cards do not work in their machines, so I was hoping the credit card would work on the train once I did get on.

As soon as we started to get me to the train, things were not looking good. Not only could we not get a ticket but all of the second class tickets were taken! I would have to go first class, which is not what I wanted to do @ 75 E (about $100.00). I felt peaceful though. I also realized that this train would not take me straight the the airport and I'd have to fumble around in Paris trying to switch trains getting to the airport. And to make matters worse, (I probably shouldn't say this) we bottomed out our account the day prior. So, it was a scramble to get funds transferred into the account just to survive until payday (which thankfully was only a day away).. so you can see, we were at the Lord's mercy here.

So, I recounted all of these things in my mind, as I waited for the train. Will was still with me, and we were asking (In English) if this was the right train to get on.

Out of nowhere, a middle aged man, dressed in a suit with a briefcase appeared speaking perfect English and asked if he could help. I told him that I needed to get to the airport (Charles de Galle). He said that this other train was going to the airport on it's way to Lille. I wasn't sure to believe him because it doesn't say it's going to the airport. He told me that it makes stops along the way, so I'd have to watch for my stop. I asked him if he was going that way too, and he said, "yes". I said, "Oh great. I will follow you, then" He told me to stand "right here" and then I did. All of a sudden, the other train pulled up (the one I was originally going to get on) and he jumped on it and left. Will and I watched him go, and there was a tug to follow him, but I just stood right where he told me to.

And then I had this thought, "there goes the angel the Lord sent"... and we were not meant to be escorted by him--just follow his directions. I told Will to go home and go back to bed, and I was perfectly at peace about everything. So, he left, and I got on the other train. The second class coach was available. There were funds in the account, and all was smooth sailing from then on.
When you have the Lord, crises turn into victories. It's all about perspective, isn't it? When we were sightseeing, these flowers in front of a church caught my eye. It cost us nothing to enjoy them, and they were just as beautiful as any man-made structure we visited.
It's also about who you are with. In my case, I have been blessed with a husband, who for the most part, can not stand sightseeing. He does this purely because he knows that I like it. It's taken many years to get to that point. So, what's more precious.. having a beautiful place to visit? or having someone who is willing to go and spend time with you, even if the place isn't so scenic?
Of course, I am not one to complain if the two work themselves out together.

For me, this makes me and my home sing: the spirit of contentment mixed with adventure and acceptance. For more singing homes: Moms the Word.


momstheword said...

I was just looking on my dashboard and saw your post just came up. Your pictures are so beautiful! What a lovely place to visit, and you look so pretty!

Isn't it lovely to know that we take the Lord with us wherever we go? How tenderly He cares for us!

Thank you for joining us today, I just put the meme up. I wasn't sure what you wanted to call your post so figured I'd let you link up.

Emily @ Under$1000PerMonth said...

I love you sharing all your pictures. It's like we get to go with you!

CC said...

It's good to know that God works all things out. Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures!

Kathy C. said...

I loved reading the details of your trip and how it all worked out when laid in the hands of our Father. :) Beautiful!
The photos are wonderful...our son visit France a couple of years ago, and hubby went there years before I met him...gee,I think my turn must be coming up someday! :)

Collette@Jesuslovesmums said...

Lovely photos, lovely post, lovely lady!!! I love France!

What an amazing adventure.
Love Collette xxx

Herding Grasshoppers said...

What a great story :0)

And how lucky that we get to enjoy your vacation vicariously. Great pics,


Becky said...

Oh, how blessed you are. It is wonderful that your husband is willing to take you around although it's not exactly his cup of tea. And the 'angel' the Lord sent your way to help you with the train; what a glorious Lord we have. I know you enjoyed your trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Mrs. Parunak said...

Great story! Isn't it wonderful how the Lord takes care of His children? We may feel like we're in a foreign land, but it's all His earth.

Kathi said...

What a fabulous story of God's provision! Thanks for sharing it. It will help me rest easier as I await Joel's return from Germany tomorrow!

Also, which castle is that, and how far is it from Paris? It's featured in the Epcot "France" movie, and Stephen and Joel both want to go there someday!