Run Away (A Love note to my Husband)

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.

Take me there.
Away from here.
Take me there.

Why I Travel

As I sit here in my prayer/writing room, the rain pours down relentlessly outside. It’s a Monday, and it definitely feels like the case of the “Monday blues.” When I get in moods like this, I find myself day dreaming. Dreaming of where in the world to go to next. Imagining myself sloshing through the muddy trails as the rain falls as it is now, but with a view of the Scottish highlands to keep me invigorated. With the rain falling on that journey, I can imagine it being something to remind you of the adventure you are on, and that you appreciate nature’s elements falling down upon you and adding to the feeling of mystery as you make your trek.

But right now, the rain outside my window is just making me feel glum. I sometimes wonder about my love for travel. I wonder why I am so obsessed with it. Why it’s always intrigued me.

When you are traveling, or even dreaming of travel, as I often do, the possibilities are endless. The mundane is gone. The mystery is real.

For me, whenever I’ve traveled, my senses are awakened. My soul is on fire. I find that I am pushing myself to do brave things. I am brave when I travel. And sometimes, I am afraid. And that’s okay. Being afraid is not something to be ashamed of. When you do that thing, though, that you are afraid of, like hiking across active volcanoes across New Zealand, and wonder if they might erupt again at any moment as you walk across its rim, then you experience a feeling that is worth every moment of fear. Empowerment.

It is empowering to look back at the 19.4 kilometers you just hiked in one day (here’s to you, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, NZ) and knowing that you pushed through the fear and moments of doubt. That even though you cried along the way, thinking there was no way you could finish the hike, but that a helicopter would have to come pick you up, your willpower and determination still got you through. That strength that you mustered from deep within, willed you to walk another step, and another, and another.

You feel empowered when you arrive at the car park, the end of that day long hike, and you plop down, your physical and mental energy completely spent. And you want to cry, tears of happiness and of feeling so proud of yourself, because, “you did it.”

It’s overcoming those little moments of fear along every journey, that make you truly stronger. That make you believe in yourself. It’s stepping on that plane to go on your first solo journey. It’s looking up at the mountain in front of you, feeling overwhelmed and afraid, yet still taking that first step. For there is a bravery within you that you often won’t realize is there until you DO Travel. When you find that bravery, you find your strength.

Travel. It wakes you up. It lights the fires of courage within you.

If you are afraid to travel, you are not alone. It’s okay to feel afraid, but what will we do with that fear? Will we allow it to make us stay in our homes, never following our dreams or venturing out our front door? Or, will it be a catalyst? A catalyst to propel us into action. To book that plane ticket instead of pushing the “back” button on our screen. To step on that plane, even though you have a fear of flying. To get in that kayak and paddle across the harbor, even though you’ve never stepped foot in a kayak. To walk through the streets of a city where the language is foreign and you were afraid to leave the comfort of your hotel, but you walked down that long hallway and out into the street even though you wanted to turn back. To do all of these things and more. To do them DESPITE your fear.

There are many reasons why I travel. Because it makes the future look exciting and bright, despite days like today, when the rainy weather is just a forecast, instead of an adventure in the Scottish highlands. Because just the thought of it lights my soul on fire. And because it always has a way of making me feel brave.

Be brave. Go be alive. Go travel.

My First Solo Trip – Italy (Part 1)

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

– John Augustus Shedd 

This was it. It was finally time. After months of planning, researching, and dreaming, I was about to embark on an adventure that I had been craving and needing for years now. Not just a typical “vacation” to get away, although, yes, this stay at home mommy was needing a break, but that was not the purpose or intent of this trip. I was about to set sail (or hop a plane) and was about to leave behind my safe harbor. I was about to take my first ever solo trip. Across the world. Thousands of miles away. Away from my family. My comforts. My what had become to me….my “lifelines.” 

I needed to go on this trip. My SOUL needed it more than anything. 

A few months ago, I wrote a post about my soon to be solo trip. I briefly mentioned that there were reasons as to why I needed to go on this solo venture, but I did not explain why I was doing this. 

I feel like the “why” is important. Sometimes we don’t even know why. Often times, for me, to travel is simply because it makes me feel alive. It’s intoxicating. Exhilarating. 

Maybe some of you who have gone on a solo trip can understand. Your “why” might not be the same as mine, but in some way I can almost guarantee that you can relate on some level. Maybe you’ve gone through something really difficult in your life, as I had. 

A few years ago, after my husband Josh and I had our first baby, I experienced something very painful and scary. A month after our daughter was born, I was completely blindsided by postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. It rocked and shook our world. It was a traumatic time – a mountain that I didn’t think I was going to be able to conquer. Thankfully, I owe my healing that I finally found, I owe that to God. But I also know that my husband was crucial in my healing. He fought alongside me and held up the sword in battle when my arms became too heavy. He is indeed my hero. He never abandoned me. I thank God for him. Because of this painful time, although the PPD “only” lasted about 4 months, it became a life changing experience for both Josh and I. Looking back now, we see how it changed our marriage. When you go through a battle with someone, there is a bond, a comradeship, that you can’t ever fully put into words. It ended up being a beautiful thing for our marriage, and our love for each other grew tenfold. 

My family and friends were there for me and helped me get through my darkest days. 

And so, after going through something so intense, traumatic, and painful … after that event is over, you find yourself still reeling after it’s over. You find that yes, good things DID come from something so terrible. 

But, my friends, it also leaves you feeling wounded. Damaged. Broken. Traumatized. Fearful. 

Perhaps you have experienced an event in your life where it left you feeling this way. If you have, I am truly sorry. It is not easy to move on after such a trying time . . . but, along the way, I’ve learned that, no matter what, we have to keep moving forward. 

PPD lied to me while I was in the thick of it, and it has also lied to me since finding my “healing”. It’s been a journey. 

One of the lies it made me believe is that I failed. I malfunctioned. 

But something I kept noticing in my journaling, is that it made me feel like I was incapable. 

And so, in a way, I felt like I needed to do something to challenge myself . . . almost to prove to myself again that I AM CAPABLE. That I am not weak, but, that I am strong. 

Taking myself completely out of my comfort zone and challenging myself to the very core . . . traveling by myself, across the vast ocean, to a foreign country to a land where I did not speak the language . . . yep, that sounded like just the challenge I needed. 

I needed to believe in myself again. 

So, I chose Italy. 

And here it was. Time to go. April 9th, 2018. Departure day. 

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I have struggled quite a bit with anxiety since going through PPD, and it’s a struggle that comes and goes. And so, I had had my doubts, and shed several tears in the days leading up to my solo trip to Italy. All the ‘What If’s’ that played in my head were beyond count. And so many times, I even said out loud to Josh, “I can’t do this. Let’s just cancel the trip.” 

Don’t cancel the trip!

It was a Monday, and my husband drove me to DFW. Along the way, I was debating whether or not I wanted him to come inside with me and help me get checked in for my flight. Part of me wanted him there to help me with at least this part, and to be with me for as long as possible, but I also knew that this might make saying goodbye even harder – it would prolong the goodbye. 

At the last minute, I told him to just go ahead and drop me off. This was one of the best decisions I made for this trip. Josh had suggested that it might be even more helpful for me if I do this whole thing ALL by myself, even from the checking in point. And even in that moment, as I hugged him tightly beside our car at the curb of the airport, I felt a courage fill me to my core. Was I scared? Nervous. Oh yes! But I had a belief that I could do this. And what a feeling that is that we must cling to when we do believe in ourselves! Those moments are so important. 

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I waved goodbye, and walked in the airport, and thus began the start of my solo journey. 

***

To Travel Without Anxiety . . . If Only

In less than a couple months, I will be going on my first solo trip. First solo trip. Ever. Of course, I’ve flown by myself before domestically, but I’ve had friends and family waiting for me at my destination. Not so this time. I will be crossing the pond, flying internationally by myself. If you’ve read my other posts, you know that I have traveled internationally before, but I’ve had my husband with me. So this time is really different.
I will be going to a place I’ve always dreamed of since I was a little girl. Italy! I find myself constantly daydreaming about my future adventure and sometimes the excitement is so high it almost makes my chest hurt!

 
But, at the same time, there are days when I start REALLY thinking about this solo journey. I think about all the logistics. The step by step process of getting from my house to the long plane rides to reaching my final destination. I start thinking of everything, all the details, and then all of the “what if’s”. I soon find myself overwhelmed with a thing called anxiety. And there are days when I say out loud, “I can’t do this. What am I thinking?” And then I say to myself, “I’m just going to have to cancel the trip.” And I feel defeated before the adventure has even begun. It’s in those moments that I don’t have the confidence in myself that I CAN do this. Doubt and worry, oh my, they can really mess with us and interfere with our lives…steal our peace and happiness. Oh yeah, and fear. That’s a big one that I feel like I wrestle with a lot.

 
I am being honest here…I am not sugarcoating how travel can be, at least for me sometimes. I love traveling just about more than anything in this world, but I have travel anxiety. General anxiety. So it makes it a little difficult sometimes to enjoy the journey. Maybe some of you out there can relate. We know all the motivational quotes out there about enjoying the journey, but when you have anxiety it can interfere with what you truly want. And what I want IS to not dread the part of making it to my destination and just being happy and relieved when I get there, but I want an overwhelming sense of peace and calm to wash over my entire being ON the journey itself. I want to savor every step of the process that it takes of getting there. I want excitement and adrenaline to rush through my veins on the journey, even while flying (which makes me anxious, like most people!) and not just to have those feelings when I’ve arrived. For some people, it might come easy to do this, but for me it’s not so easy. It is something that has frustrated me and has hindered me at times from fully enjoying a trip. What I find myself doing is being two steps ahead in my mind, instead of being present and fully in the moment.

 
So, what is the point of writing all of this? I know it’s a different, more vulnerable post than I’ve written on this blog.

 
I write this to say that travel is not always pretty and glamorous as we all can make it appear by the pictures we take – the postcard worthy pictures. Those of us who travel know this. All the mishaps that can and do happen along the way. But it’s all part of the adventure right? (I nudge myself to believe it as I say it!) We know travel can be stressful and exhausting, and can bring out a lot of emotions, both positive and negative.

 
BUT…when we or I find myself being overwhelmed with anxiety, I have to remember why I am traveling in the first place.

 
I CHOSE to go on this solo trip, and I’ve been wanting this for myself for a long time. For various reasons, of which I won’t explain all of it now, maybe for another post, but here is one reason why. I want to grow in my self-confidence – to fully believe in myself again, because somewhere along the way after going through some things, I have lost that. I need to believe and know that “I am capable.” And so, stretching myself and getting out of my comfort zone and doing something that I believe is hard and that would be like climbing Mt. Everest – I know that it will be nourishment to my soul. To accomplish this….I can only imagine the overwhelming feeling of how proud I will feel! I know this will be so good for me.

 
And, of course, I am going on this journey because wanderlust is in my veins, too. Life is a gift. This world is filled with wonders, and I want to see and experience it all. Gratitude, contentment and wonder washes over my heart, mind, and soul when I am in a new place. To hear a foreign language and not understand a word that is spoken but being enamored by its sound. To appreciate a different culture and to just sit there and “people watch” and in those moments you just feel so alive. Traveling makes me feel alive. It always has. It awakens me. Fills me with passion for life.

 
So I must remember these things. I am afraid to travel solo, yes, but one of my favorite quotes inspires me to keep on dreaming and to not press the “cancel” button. Oh, the regret I would feel if I did that! “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” (George Addair). I will not let fear have a say; it will not keep me from my dreams.

 

And, I will end with another favorite quote of mine;

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

What about you? I would love to hear from you guys about your traveling experiences! Ever dealt with travel anxiety? What kept you going and what kept you from canceling the trip?

And I would love to hear about any solo trips you’ve been on and what that was like! Feel free to comment below or send us a message!

Much Love,

Lindsey

Traveling Without A Compass

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.

 

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Photography Credit: Brandi Burkett Photography 

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.

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Overlooking Wellington, New Zealand from Mount Kaukau

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.

“Not all who wander are lost.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien