We have been traveling for three months now. As predicted, it feels like it has flown by! When we were preparing for this trip, we thought through what we wanted to get out of it, what we wanted to learn, how we hoped it would change us and grow us. It was intimidating to come up with those big scary goals, and it was impossible to say how we would grow. But almost daily as we are traveling, Rick and I find ourselves talking about something we’re learning, or something we had as head knowledge, but is really sinking in now.
So I figured I would share a few of those thoughts. As I got into writing this, it turned into a MUCH longer post than I initially thought. So I’m breaking it up into a series of them. Here’s the first installment, in no particular order:
1) Stop Spending Your Energy Looking for The Best
You’re better off making the most of where ever you are, than trying to figure out where you should be. I’m really bad at this. Like really, really bad.
I’m learning that with perpetual travel like we’re doing, you are basically constantly in planning mode. It’s very different from a vacation – where it’s super fun to plan, you spend weeks or months learning about a place, what to see, where to stay, eat, what are the “can’t miss” things there. But when that’s everyday, it’s gets really overwhelming and there’s just not enough time. I can’t plan for the next country we’ll be in because I’m trying to figure out where the heck we are right now, what we’re not supposed to miss, where we’re sleeping and how we’re getting from the train station to somewhere that’s not in the ghetto. So if I let it (and sometimes I do), every moment of every day could be spent planning where to go next, what to see – and even if you have time to do any of those “best things” at that point, you have no energy to because you’re beat down from all of the researching.
Confession: I am TERRIBLE about this!! (And if you knew me back in Texas, you’re probably nodding along that I was terrible about this at home too) What’s worse is that I’ve dragged Rick down into this habit with me – he didn’t used to do it – but I’ve brought him to the dark side. And this habit is what starts the majority of our frustration and fights I think.
As I’m writing this, God is definitely speaking to me, “Liz, why do you think you do that?…. Hint, hint, is it because you struggle with control? Is it because you too often forget that I have a plan for where I want you to be and when I want you to be there? Do you forget to trust my timing and hand on you?” Yes, nailed it, God!
You’re better off going to one of the first places you find, it may be mediocre or flat out crappy, but you’ve saved yourself a ton of stress and you actually have energy remaining to enjoy it. That goes from the smallest things, like the restaurant you’re eating at or which temple to visit, to the bigger travel things like which country in Southeast Asia to go to or which island to stay on.
There’s a danger to always looking for, seeking out the best, always trying to figure it out and get to it. I’m an addict though. I always want to figure out what the best option is and go for that one. But it’s easy to miss where you are when you’re mid-super-research-and-planning-extravaganza looking for the best. And certain moments in a mediocre place can be so much more fulfilling, memorable, and meaningful than the time you would spend in that perfect place. Make the most of where you are, instead of looking for the best place – I’ll be working on this one for the next leg of our journey.
2) I Don’t Have To Have It All Figured Out
Actually I only have to have a very, very little bit figured out – Who God is, and who I am to God. Everything else will work out, as long as I’m focused on those two things.
3) Learning What I Like: Mountains, Countryside
Being free to be where I want, having those options, has helped me to realize things I enjoy most. Previously, living in a city, I kind of assumed that I liked getting out into nature, the country, just because it was different that what I saw everyday. But now that we are bouncing around between cities and more rural places, Rick and I have both found that we really like being out in nature much more that being in even the most interesting and beautiful cities. Not a huge break though here, but good to know. I’ve also determined that I’m a mountain person. I’m just happier at altitude and with mountains as my backdrop. Even when I’m at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world I would rather be in the mountains. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn more of these innate preferences as we continue the journey.
PS – For Rick, definitely countryside over city. He could do beaches or mountains, definitely not as strong of a preference as me, but he leans towards mountains.
…well that’s probably already too long for one post, so I’ll stop there and pick up in another post.