Here’s a few beautiful photos of various countries in the EU 🇪🇺, Central America, and the Middle East -enjoy!
Here’s a few beautiful photos of various countries in the EU 🇪🇺, Central America, and the Middle East -enjoy!
We are ready to go! Next adventure – Costa Rica! Got my reading material . . . can’t wait to finish reading “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis (check out her website here)! Such inspiration and truth! AND . . . Always have to have my travel magazines to dream about our travels after this adventure is over. True wanderlust spirits!
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
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.
Above : bicycles near Oxford University
Above : Stonehenge
Above : view of Oxford from the University Tower
Above : Castlecombe, Cotswolds
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.
“Not all who wander are lost.”