Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 20, 2013

Essential Safari Items

Preparing for the 2013 Texas Water Safari

In my early days of leading volunteer teams to serve among the nations, I developed a really good general packing list and several country-specific packing lists. I depended on these lists because my biggest fear was arriving at some remote part of the planet missing something really vital or important. It’s always frustrating when something like that happens, especially when you are in a place where you can’t just go out and buy what you need.

Packing has always been my least favorite part of the travel experience, but I have made peace with packing and have developed some efficient packing methods that continue to serve me well. As a result, the packing process is not as painful as it once was and, after so many trips around the globe, I have not used a packing list in years. My packing list is now totally engrained in my brain.

I have however, had to develop a new packing list — not for my international travel but for competing in the Texas Water Safari, the world’s toughest canoe race. When my son Jonathan and I prepared for this race last year, we had a very specific list of what to pack in addition to the mandatory items specified in the race rules. Our list guided us in packing just the right amount of nutrition and other items without over-packing and adding unnecessary weight to our canoe.

Our nutrition and supplies for last year's Texas Water Safari.

Our nutrition and supplies for last year’s Texas Water Safari.

Our safari packing list is very important because if we forget to pack something, tough luck! We have to do the race without it. Racers have to carry all of their own nutrition plus required first-aid supplies. Our team captain can re-supply us with water (and if necessary, medical aid) at the specified check-points along the course. Thus the need to maintain an accurate packing list and to make certain that we pack carefully.

Just a few more items on our Texas Water Safari packing list.

Just a few more items on our 2013 Texas Water Safari packing list.

Today at lunch, Doyle and I purchased yet a few more of the things we will need for the safari. We have just about everything on our list except for an assortment of batteries for our lights, GPS, and SpotTracker. We will buy our nutrition the week before the race. We are very conscious of the need to pack light but also to make sure that we have everything on our list. No excess.

As Doyle and I picked up a few more things on our list today, I thought about my favorite packing list in the Bible — tucked away in the popular Old Testament story of Joseph. When Jacob reluctantly agreed to allow his sons to travel to Egypt to purchase food during a famine, this concerned father told his boys to pack some of the best products of the land, including “a little balm and a little honey” (Gen. 43:11).

The mention of “a little balm and a little honey” illustrates the wisdom of Jacob. He knew that his boys might need a little balm along the way to nurse aches and pains and a little honey for nourishment and refreshment. These are two items we should always carry with us as well. We should be prepared to offer a little balm to those who are weary and a little honey to those in need of encouragement. It will make our journey and theirs more meaningful and pleasant.

Thank you for following our journey as we prepare for the Texas Water Safari in June.


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