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By the time you read this I’ll be jet-lagged somewhere in Rome, aimlessly snapping pictures of everything I see.
Right this minute, I’m on the greatest adventure of my life thus far: backpacking Europe. This week I’m in Italy. Next week I’ll be in Greece. The weeks following will see me in France, England and Ireland.
Not only is this the greatest adventure of my life so far, but it’s also one of the craziest, and it took a lot of preparation. I’m not just talking about getting a passport, calling my credit card provider or neatly fitting clothes for five weeks into one suitcase.
An adventure like this takes preparation on deeper levels. Here’s what I did to prepare myself mentally, physically, financially and spiritually.
I thought about this trip a lot. That sounds dumb, but in the last few months, Europe has weighed heavily on my mind. When I think about the places I will see, people I will meet and crazy backpacking experiences I will have, I still can’t grasp it all.
I’ve finally decided that thinking about it all the time won’t actually prepare be for being there, and in many aspects, I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Now I am mentally open and ready to embrace that whatever happens on this trip, despite my own plans, just happens.
I did the Whole30 as a way to “reset” my body and gain healthy habits. I’ll definitely think of these habits while I’m in Europe, but I also know that I’ll need to be flexible and experience the culture (nice to meet you, gelato).
I also started doing Pilates, Yoga and Zumba to prepare my body for the physical demands of backpacking.
My roommate and I started doing Zumba videos in our living room, and make fun of us all you want, but it’s a killer workout! In February I did 28 Days of Pilates with Robin Long from The Balanced Life. I’ve kept up with her videos since then too, and I love them. Pilates is definitely my new favorite way to work out, and I love Robin’s balanced perspective on fitness.
I’ll be honest with you on this one, I didn’t do much in the way of saving money. But that’s mostly because I’m not a huge spender as it is. I rarely buy more than food and gas, with a splurge every once in a while. I worked an on campus job this semester, but yet, with my unpaid internship 30 miles away, rent and groceries, expenses got a little high.
Thankfully my trip to Europe is covered; however, my trip to Guatemala in July is not. If you’d like to support that trip financially, you can do so here. No pressure though – that’s definitely not my reason for sharing this with you! If anything, I learned to live on the most realistic budget I can, and trust that the rest will be provided for in time.
I’ve heard so many stories from friends about going to Europe and coming home with new revelations, insights and closer relationships with the Lord. I’m praying that I’ll have a similar experience, but I also don’t want my experience to look like anyone else’s, so I’m praying for openness.
I want to have an open heart, eyes and mind to all the things the Lord wants to reveal to me on this trip.
Throughout the semester I also tried to maintain an attitude of thankfulness. I’ll be brutally honest and tell you that my spiritual life was a little rocky this past spring. There were times when I felt the Lord was closer than a brother, and other times when he felt more like a distant relative. But despite that struggle, I still know that I have so much to be thankful for.
He is making some of my wildest dreams come true this summer, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this incredible gift. I can’t wait to see how our relationship develops throughout this European adventure.
So now, after months of anticipation, I’m just ready to go. Who knows how prepared I can really be, but I’m ready to begin.
See you soon, Europe!
Are you embarking on a great adventure soon? I challenge you to think of ways to prepare yourself in these four categories. While you’re at it, share your thoughts and methods with me in the comments!
Photo by Haylee Robinson.