Category Archives: Travel

Why I fly ABI

Some people are surprised that I typically fly out of the Abilene airport. Isn’t it cheaper to fly out of Dallas or Houston?


Many times the price difference is negligible. Or Abilene is cheaper! I’m traveling with Carolina to Montevideo in a few weeks. It’s part of her work with Abilene Christian University, so the university made our arrangements. They automatically book out of DFW. When I got my reservation, I noticed that the price seemed a bit high. I looked and, sure enough, the price out of Abilene would have been $50 cheaper.

This morning, just to test, I looked for prices to Buenos Aires. I did one search on one itinerary that I hadn’t searched before, just to get an idea. Here’s what Kayak shows out of Abilene:

And here’s what they show out of Dallas:

I have status on American, so I would prefer to stay with them. But even if I didn’t, I’d be paying $250 for the privilege of flying out of Dallas!

Even when the fares are cheaper out of Dallas (which they often are), when I add in the cost of driving to Dallas and back, I rarely save money. Parking tends to cost more as well. And the frustrations involved with making the trip to Dallas… no thanks. I’ll sit on a plane, read a book, and skip the hassle.

One more reason: last week I got to the airport and realized I’d left my wallet at home. Drove home and back in less than 20 minutes. That’s not happening in Dallas or Houston!

Guatemala trip and random travel thoughts

Just got back from a great weekend in Guatemala City. It was primarily a follow-up trip for Hope For Life (Herald of Truth) on campaign work done there last year and radio work that is ongoing. Bruno Valle and I spent most of our time with Roberto Alvarez, who has been our chief contact there the last few years. Roberto directs the Biblical Institute of Central America; his students were conducting a house-to-house campaign, and Bruno and I provided the preaching for the event. There were seven baptisms and two restorations.

A few random thoughts that have come up over the last few weeks:

  • Just finished reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. I’d recommend the book, primarily for understanding a bit more about Islam and the differences between the worldview of a shame culture vs that of a guilt culture.
  • I now read ebooks almost exclusively when traveling. I have a small iPad with the Kindle app on it; I keep it loaded with plenty of books. I like hard copies when home, but love ebooks when traveling.
  • When traveling, try to limit yourself to one carryon. That’s been my practice for years, and I’m constantly reminded of why it’s a good idea. I have what I call a half-rollerboardthat I can combine with a full-sized carryon for especially long trips. Unless I’m carrying something bulky or taking a lot of supplies somewhere, I don’t check a bag. For suggestions on how to reduce your travel load, check out
  • I love the lightweight hiking shirts made by Columbia. They do well in warm weather, plus you can wash and hang-dry them from one day to the next. I think they look much nicer than the fishing shirts a lot of guys wear. The model I’ve been wearing is Royce Peak II; I’m sure there are others that look as nice.

That’s it for now. Have a great day!


suitcasesJuly has been a busy month. Here’s a bit of what’s been going on:

  • The first couple of days, I was at the Summer Celebration at David Lipscomb University. I was privileged to speak twice in their Spanish track.
  • On July 10, I spoke at the Pleasanton church of Christ (Texas). I was able to spend the night in Stockdale with some dear friends.
  • July 12-24 saw my family and I participating on a mission trip to Cuba with members of the University church of Christ (Abilene). It was a great trip that I’ll tell you more about in the coming days.
  • This past weekend I did a “Christ and Culture” seminar at the Hardin Valley church of Christ in Knoxville, Tennessee. Really great group of people.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. How about you?

Nicaragua, South Texas, and Revelation

I’ve been on the road a good bit lately. Sometimes I can keep up the blog while traveling, sometimes I can’t. I used to worry about it, but I’ve come to accept that the world goes on turning, even when I can’t post.

Spent a few days in Managua, Nicaragua, doing some follow-up for Herald of Truth. Along with discussing the media project we recently did there, Steve Ridgell and I also got to do some teaching on leadership and on marriage.

Last week I was in Stockdale, Texas. It’s always good to be back there, to see what God is doing among the people of that small South Texas town.

I did six lessons on Revelation. Whenever I have to teach a book in a new format, it’s a real learning experience for me. I purchased Eugene Peterson’s Reversed Thunder and gained some insights from that book. I also got study notes from several friends who have taught Revelation in the recent past.

In Bible class on Sunday morning, we did an introduction to the book. When talking about Revelation as poetry, I included a clip from Dead Poet’s Society, where Robin Williams has his students tear out the introduction to their poetry books. I used that to talk about the folly of taking a poetic book like Revelation and trying to pull out a timeline for the future.

During the morning worship, I preached on Revelation 4-5, the fact that the Lion of Judah turned out to be a sacrificed Lamb. In the evening, we did the first 3 chapters in a whirlwind blitz; fortunately I had some copies of Letters From The Lamb for anyone that wanted to go deeper into that material.

The last three lessons were “Scenes of Judgment,” “Scenes of Triumph,” and “New Heaven, New Earth.” It was a quick overview, but people seemed to find it helpful. More than anything, I sought to prepare them to read the book on their own.

Lots of learning for me. Hope it was a blessing to others.

Counting the Costs of Traveling

With today being the biggest travel day of the year, I want to solicit some opinions. Years ago, a friend suggested to me that I use the IRS’s mileage cost guidelines in determining the costs of travel by car. Currently that’s 50 cents a mile.

Using this rate often puts me at odds with people around me when discussing trips because they merely talk about gasoline costs. There’s a wide discrepancy between the two.

This mainly comes up when discussing long trips. They’ll say, for example, I’m going to drive to Tulsa because I want to save money. From Abilene, that’s roughly 400 miles, so just the trip should cost $400 roundtrip. Flying from Abilene to Tulsa currently costs about $200.

There are other considerations, of course, like transportation once you arrive, how many people are making the trip, etc. However I once heard someone say that if the trip is over 300 miles, flying is cheaper. That seems about right.

Another possibility is to rent a car. This is typically much cheaper than using your own car, unless you like to give money to the rental car agencies by buying the insurance they offer. In almost every case, the insurance you have on your car will also cover your rental (but ask your agent first!).

Anyway, what I’d like to know is if using the IRS mileage rates is legit. Or how should one calculate these costs?