Travel On, Beloved One
By: Amanda Clark
There is something magical about packing a suitcase, hopping on a plane, and having your head spin with anticipation at the thought of arriving somewhere new. There are adventures to be had, people to be seen, and voices to be heard beyond the borders of your own home. I believe that travel is the one thing that fuels my creativity better than anything else. There is nothing quite like the rush of adrenaline when that plane comes to a stop and you step off with achy legs and a heart full of wonder. In my short 21 years of living, I have been blessed with seeing this world from coast to coast and continent to continent. I haven’t come anywhere close to seeing everything, but I have seen a lot and the following are some important lessons that I learned along the way.
1) Pack Light
Time and time again you’ll hear this and never actually take it to heart, but I urge you be that person who takes it to heart. When I traveled to England this summer I thought I needed every outfit under the sun. I strategically packed 9 pairs of shoes, a multitude of shirts, a variety of dresses, too many pants, a makeup case that is fit for the Miss America pageant, 4 books, 2 umbrellas, 5 different towels, and then 2 bathing suits just case (which I never actually came close to a body a water…). I re-wore the same outfit for about 2 weeks because I liked it so much and wore my hair natural every day because I was too lazy to do it. Needless to say, I packed far too much and learned that I had no upper body strength to carry it all to my flat. My suggestion to you is enroll in a CrossFit class or pack a little lighter.
2) Act like a local (sometimes)
Once you’ve learned your surroundings and have done the initial touristy things that every human has to do, take time to act like a local. Put the camera down, plug in some chill jams, and take in your surroundings. There is nothing quite like strolling along cobblestone roads with a coffee in hand while The 1975 is faintly playing in the background.Walking the streets of England alone at night and soaking in the city is an experience I’ll never forget because it changed the trajectory of my heart. Those moments where I took the time to be still and paid attention to the heartbeat of the city that I was in, were the moments where I could feel myself becoming the person that I had always wanted to become. It’s an intimate experience finding yourself and feeling it to the very core. In fact, it really can’t be put into words. It’s an out-of-body experience that I personally know is real because when I look back at photos of England, my heart physically hurts. I never knew that a location on a map could impact my heart in the same way a person could, until I embarked on the journey alone.
3) WRITE IT DOWN
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Wherever you might be traveling to, don’t forget to capture those experiences while you’re there. Capturing your experience through pen and paper is profoundly different than capturing them through an IPhone lens. Photos are for other people, writing is personal. When I was in France, I challenged myself to write every night after the sun had set and the day was finished. I went to France over 5 years ago and I am still able to recount the sights and sounds of the city at the time I was there not because my brain has superpowers, but because all of those feelings, smells, and sights are written down in an old school composition notebook that I can still look back on today. There is value in looking back at what you’ve learned and experienced and seeing God’s footprints through it all. You are who you are because of what you’ve experienced. Capture it in a tangible way.
4) Never Stop Exploring
If you’re like me, this one comes easy. Once you’ve caught the travel bug, you can’t stop. Don’t become complacent. Be the individual that is constantly pushing themselves forward. Experience different cultures, eat wild food, befriend those from other countries, hike, climb, swim, and never settle for being comfortable within your own walls. Stretch yourself to try new things and love on new people; We become better stronger, and more interesting humans when we do. The Lord created this world with magical surprises on every corner. The landscape we live on is a treasure hunt in itself, go search and find those golden experiences. They’re out there waiting for you and I to find them. Soak up this world for all it’s worth, it is rich in enchantment. Never stop exploring with the limited number of days we have left.
Travel on, beloved one.