The GSB teams’ travels are really study tours more than they are a vacation.
A study tour is different than a vacation.
On a tour the focus is on experiencing the geography, culture, or history of a place to expand one’s knowledge of the world.
The primary goal of a vacation is pleasure and relaxation.
The GSB team loves history, and we pick places to travel to that are consistent with our interest in history and the kingdom of God.
With that in mind, and as we prepare to depart on our Viking Study Tour, here’s a primer on how to pack for a study tour.
1. Journal(s). You need two: a PJ (portable journal) that will fit in your coat pocket and a larger DJ (daily journal). The PJ is for taking notes throughout the day. The DJ is for your longer end-of-day, diary entries. I’ve used Moleskine PJs in the past. These days I’m using Rhodia.
2. Pen(s). Most pens will do, though I prefer Cross because they are small and will clip into a shirt, jacket or backpack, so you always know where they are. I take one pen with refills, just in case.
3. Camera (and charging stick). I use the camera in my iPhone 8 because I can eliminate the burden of carrying a separate camera. It does just fine. Everyone’s different, but capturing our tours in pics has never been as important to us as experiencing them. And if you are going to take a lot of pics, a charging stick can come in handy.
4. Smart Phone (w/Wikipedia App). Access to Wikipedia is a must on a tour. It means you don’t have to rely on a tour guide for all your information, and you can drill down on your own when learning about a place or period of history associated with it.
5. Bible. A thin one is preferred, or you can rely on a Bible app. Leave the family King James at home, unless you like rotator cuff injuries. For our trip I’m going with Logos on the iPhone to have access to language tools, commentaries etc.
6. Book(s). On a tour, there is always travel time from place to place and time to read. I take books related to the place we are touring or history we are studying. This time it’s a mix of Kindle books on my iPad and paperbacks in my backpack. I posted the reading list for this trip here.
7. Backpack. All of the foregoing should be able to fit easily into a backpack. You want a light one with lots of pockets because you will be carrying it everywhere and the separate pockets allow you to find what you need much easier.
8. People. It’s not good for man to be alone. (Gen. 2:18). This is true of traveling as well. Stimulating conversation and good laughs come with the right mix of people. The GSB team on this tour will consist of The Wife, our well-read, Jesus-following, always interesting, travel buddy Ann, Ann’s friend, and my mother and father-in-law, who at 86 and 89, respectively, are still some of the most fun people I know with whom to travel.
Time now to pack because we leave tomorrow! GS