So, many of you know that I went on a trip to Europe last fall. I had intentions of writing a blog of my adventures as I was going along… NOPE. Too busy for that. What I did do however, was a dabble of journaling.
I have been in the reflective mood as of late, so I picked through a few pages of the journal. In doing so, I came upon the first entry, the one I want to share with you all. I wrote this September 17, 2014, four days before my flight left to London. This is a lesson I have been continuously learning, but as my Uncle Dan says “you don’t know where you are, till you been where you been”.
“I’m done work, got a short time before I leave on my big adventure. Nervous, anxious, excited, scared… all taking turns rising to the top, in no particular order… I watched a travel vlogger the other day (don’t remember her name), she said something profound… “Don’t travel with intentions of arrival, you miss the journey in between.” Life has brief seasons of contentment that seem to be harried by our insatiable desire to cross things off of lists… Go travel, get a girlfriend, get married, get a job, have kids, get them walking, etc. etc…. When we live life crossing things off of lists we often miss the journey of everyday life. We stop viewing things/circumstances as adventures and look at them as obstacles. I’m no saint; I struggle with contentment all the time! I view myself as incomplete; “If I only had a girlfriend… or a better job… or a cooler car…”. This is not living. It is time to start living life without an estimated time of arrival. Your ‘now’ is the best ‘now’ you have. Make plans, be proactive, but don’t be so focused on the dream that you forget to wakeup.
As I embark on this journey, I want to travel without arrival in mind. I am going to soak it all up. I am going to try living like life is a journey.”
In reflection, this first entry was prophetic to my two month experience. I had so many random conversations with the coolest people, getting lost but not really lost, or my classic “This is the wrong train, oh well/This is the wrong city, oh well” moments. I met strangers who became friends, I rode transit (yay, small town Canada), I walked 300 km’s (170 km in Spain), I spent 80 Euros on a seafood dinner, I pooped my pants on top of a Pyrenees mountain because of the seafood dinner, I hiked in the Alps, swam in the Mediterranean, called the cops because I saw a floating hand in a river in Zurich (just a glove), ate frog legs in London, looked for an honest cup of coffee in Amsterdam (turns out a coffee shop in Amsterdam is much different than the coffee shops I am familiar with… drugs, drugs, drugs), and I didn’t get stabbed in any country, which is a good goal to have.
Even in all of this, I learn slowly and forget quickly, I revert to my default settings. I need to keep learning to live faithful to the day. I keep struggling with contentment and wanting to see the “Big Picture”, but I’m missing the journey in between.
I know I’m not the only one. If your like me, relax, give yourself a break, get rid of those lists for a day and live a little!
Thanks for reading!