I don’t know how or when, but why don’t we just move away somewhere abroad? Try and run away from life….sort out our problems there?
Be surrounded by the things and experiences that sets our souls on fire and instead of the dreadful monotony that we both hate?
Be immersed in a different, but exciting culture? Meet new people and hear their beautiful stories. Listen to the romantic sound of a foreign language. To feel wonderfully lost, yet found.
My eyes NEED to see new things.
I need a culturally immersive experience. That’s what I want, need and long for right now. I think my soul and heart and mind are thirsting for this.
I want to be in a crazy, loud and exciting market in Mumbai, India. I want to taste the exotic spices. I want to bargain with someone selling me their spices, perfumes, hand woven scarves…whatever it is, and to feel connected with them after hearing the story of how much what they are selling to me means to them.
Then I would find myself not wanting to bargain at all. I would instead find myself intrigued by the story that led them to where they are right there, at that moment in the market. And all the while considering what led me to being at the same market. And how our stories – we are all intertwined. We are all different, but yet the same.
I want a foreign experience. I want to close my eyes, and when I open them again, to find myself in a place I’ve never been. It’s all new. Nothing is the same. It’s all unlike anything I’ve ever seen, tasted, or smelled. My senses can barely take it all in. I am almost paralyzed and in shock at all this foreign beauty that lies before me, but then, I take that first step.
Towards the market.
Towards the people.
Towards the hustle and bustle.
The hustle and bustle and noise that sometimes makes me feel afraid and nervous, but is where I need to go.
That’s where I will find the connection to the people. Those who do not speak the same language as me. Who I do not understand. Who do not look like me.
I need to be in the midst of this.
Outside my comfort zone.
Yet finding my comfort actually lies outside this zone.
This is where my soul comes alive.
This is where the mind becomes engaged.
This is where the heart softens.
This is where strangers become friends.
Where pride in oneself has to go out the window.
And yet when feeling empowered is a gift you receive.
It can keep us from chasing our dreams. Or it can keep us from enjoying or embracing our day to day lives. It can keep us away from journeying on magnificent adventures.
But you see, our lives were not meant to be lived in fear. Of course we might feel fear, it usually can arise and will arise in our every day lives. But, are we going to let it rule the day? That is the question.
Satan wants to keep us trapped in fear. God understands that we feel fear, and that is why in His word, He reminds us, comforts us, reassures us, and even commands us to not be afraid….”Do not fear, for I am with you.”
Fear can keep us teetering on the fence about a big decision that we need to make. We know what our hearts desire and want, but fear can hold us back from embracing and pursuing what we know the answer to that decision is or SHOULD be.
I’ve recently felt fear with moving to a new city. Of course, that’s only natural. Moving to a new place, away from your comfort zone, family and friends, the life that we worked on making….that is scary. There were moments when I truly felt flat out scared, and I expressed my fears out loud in prayer to God. There were moments when I questioned if we were doing the right thing, and I know I’ll naturally still have those moments, but that was when I had to talk to God. Voice my fears out loud to Him. It’s a scary thing to give up control and fully trust God, and to not worry, but we have to. This is God’s desire of us. I know I haven’t completely trusted Him throughout the whole process of moving, but there have been times where I’ve stopped myself, my thoughts of “what if’s” and all the worries that pop up in our heads and simply say out loud, “I can’t worry about that.” And I imagine simply handing it to God.
It was scary, nerve wracking and emotional leaving our home in Tyler last week…leaving behind so much, and heading out into the unknown, the unfamiliar. It’s just like traveling. Whenever I’m about to step on a plane, knowing my destination is foreign to me…it is scary, but it’s also exhilarating and exciting. And what do you have to do despite the fear that sits on your chest? You get on the plane anyway.
And fear can honestly keep us at home, just sitting on the couch. Letting life pass us by.
This is a reminder for myself, and I hope this helps others, too.
Don’t let fear cripple you. Feel the fear, but don’t let it be your master. Get on that plane…that ship. Sail the seas. Feel the wind in your hair….live life with your arms wide open. And then you can turn back and look at that fear that is far behind you, and you can laugh at it.
And you can smile, knowing that… you didn’t let it win.
While exploring the ancient cities of Bath, Oxford, and the quintessential villages within the Cotswolds, I was completely taken aback by the beauty of these timeless locations – even without color, one can witness the elements which entice one to explore these amazing places! These are a few of my favorite images in black & white.
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ~ Anita Desai
We loved this quintessential, quiet little village of Ramsau tucked away in the Bavarian Alps on our most recent travels to Germany. Off the beaten path places are getting harder to find, but when you stumble upon them…sometimes it can truly take your breath away.
From the time I was a little girl, I have always been a daydreamer. In school, I remember finding my mind drifting off and imagining and dreaming up my life when I grew up. I always have been a romantic, and so most of my daydreams involved a handsome prince riding in on his white horse to the castle where I was stuck and rescuing me. Just like the fairytale stories, I envisioned being taken away from all I’d ever known, and riding off into the distance where the unknown existed. Where the unknown was new, scary, and unfamiliar, making it all the more alluring. I dreamed of distant lands and being caught up in all kinds of adventures.
I experienced my first true taste of travel when I was in college. I found myself in Mexico, which was indeed a distant land to this girl who had never been out of the country before, and had spent all of her travels in the States, mostly in her home state of Texas.
Being on foreign soil for the first time, I was enamored with this place where everything was different from everything I’d ever seen. I fell in love with the feeling of being immersed in the unfamiliar – the unknown. I didn’t know the language, but it was so beautiful to me and I desperately wanted to be fluent so that I could carry on conversations with the locals. I wanted to soak up everything – this new, exciting, and vibrant culture that was so different from the culture back home. This time being abroad made me realize there was so much to learn – there was a whole world to see. While living with a local missionary family for six weeks in the colorful, culturally infused city of Guanajuato, I got a feel for what “real life” was like in a foreign land. I learned, along the way, that I have a deep appreciation for other cultures. I learned that I had a wanderlust spirit within me, and I soon found myself praying to find someone with this same type of blood flowing within their veins.
My prince finally came riding in on his white horse in the winter of 2009. His name was Josh, and I fell head over heels in love with him within a week of first meeting him. One of our first conversations, we were riding in his pickup truck on the way to our first date, and he told me of his most recent travels to London, where he had studied abroad. He spoke of his love for photography (one of my own passions) and we soon learned that we shared the same dream . . . to work for National Geographic one day and to live our lives traveling the world. “Who was this boy?” I thought to myself, and where had he been all this time?
We both knew right away that we were soulmates, that we had found the one our hearts had been searching for our whole lives, and we were married on the 30th of April, 2011.
And so began a new chapter in both of our lives . . . we began to follow and actually live out our dreams. After being married only six months, and still getting used to married life, us newlyweds sold pretty much everything we owned, quit our jobs, said difficult goodbyes to our families, and moved across the globe. We moved over 8,000 miles away from our home in Texas to the dream-like world of New Zealand. While there, we experienced the ups and downs of traveling, including culture shock and homesickness. But we also had unforgettable adventures that to this day make us long for the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Since then, our travels have included Europe, Central America, and also Josh’s most recent solo trip to the Middle East.
Life changed for us in a wonderful way in October of 2014 when we welcomed into this world our beautiful daughter. Being parents has been a new adventure for both of us, and we are so grateful for this little girl who keeps us on our toes and fills our hearts with love and happiness.
Along the way of being married, traveling the world, and becoming parents, we have learned that life is unpredictable and that, we really don’t have a whole lot of control over anything. Life is a lot like traveling – in that we shouldn’t have our life (or travels) mapped out and like we are carrying around a compass that tells us which direction to go. There is no compass for life – it’s simply not that easy. And I am thankful that it is not so. Instead, I want to live a life where I don’t have everything mapped and planned out like I like it to be, but where I am a free spirit again, like the daydreamer I once was as a little girl. Back then, I was more comfortable with the idea of the unknown. Life is all about the unknown. Travel is all about the unknown. And so, though we may not always know the direction in which we are going, what matters is that we are going. That we are going somewhere. That we are moving forward.
And that we are always exploring new and distant lands, with no compass to guide us in our hands.