Unlike Bilbo Baggins, we have been anticipating and planning this journey for quite some time. We realised that going for well over 18 months without seeing our daughter was just too long.
Much as we will enjoy seeing something of the country, it is our relationships which matter.
So it was an added bonus to encounter friendliness all along the way today. The hotel staff, the taxi driver, coach employees, the airline staff, even the U.S. immigration officials - all unfailingly pleasant.
And with each one, I found myself wondering: do you know Jesus? Is it worth your eternal soul to spend all your time on football, Mr Taxi Driver? Ms Security Officer, your lovely smile is in the image of God. Mr Coach Driver, working your best, do you do it for the glory of God, because he must be well pleased with you.
And as we glimpse the New Zealand Air log-, with illustrations from The Hobbit and The Ring Trilogy...our expected and eagerly awaited journey has truly begun.