I’ve Moved!

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Hey friends! Long time no talk, right? That’s because I moved to TheCollegeCosmopolitan.com! I made the move a few months ago and thought I set everything up to transfer my followers over, but lately I’ve noticed that this site still gets some traffic! So I’m officially popping in to redirect you all to my much newer and prettier site. 🙂 Lots of exciting things are happening over there, so I’d love it if you joined me!

I’m in Redding! …or, What To Do When You Have No Clue How You Got Here

So….Europe. Wow, Europe.

I touched ground in America just six short days ago, but right now I’m not writing to you from home, where I would normally be resting, cuddling with puppies and spending time with my family. Instead I’m sitting on a grey love seat in a house I’ve rented with five roommates in Redding, California for the next two weeks.

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How did I get here? And why so fast?
The honest answer is this: I don’t know.

I know that I’ve wanted to come to Bethel Church’s Worship U for awhile now, but I still couldn’t quite tell you why. I lead worship for years growing up, but then I went to college and church got hard (you can read my church story here), so I’m not currently on a worship team.

But still, when the opportunity came up to attend the two week school this summer, I knew I had to take it. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever just known  you’re suppose to be somewhere, do something or act in someway?

I know I need to be here.

So even though I’m exhausted, and I’ve barely been able to process the incredible and overwhelming past five weeks, I’m here. And I’m so excited.

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I’m excited to learn about songwriting, playing keys in a worship band and leading others into the presence of God. I’m excited to share the next two weeks with my five wonderful roommates and figure out what we are all doing here together. I’m excited to find rest in the midst of a hectic schedule. I’m excited to let the Lord revive my heart for worship.

I’m so excited for this season, even if I’m barely keeping up with the pace.

Friends, if you don’t know how you got to be where you are, get excited about it anyway. Realize that there is a reason you’re there, and you never know how or when your life can change.

“If you have no mystery in your life you are reducing your God to the same level of understanding as you.” -Bill Johnson

Let God surprise you, and enjoy the crazy, messy, confusing and mysterious ride.

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Travel Adventures: Greece in Photos

GREECE – the next stop on my five week European adventure! I can’t even begin to describe all of the sites I saw in Greece, so instead I’ll show you.

But for fun, here are a few highlights: I danced with the Greeks, made animal friends, had a view of the Acropolis from my hotel, beached on Santorini Island & Crete, stood where St. Paul stood on Mars Hill and in Ancient Corinth, shopped till I dropped, ate gyros…lots of them, discovered the beauty of GREEK frozen yogurt, let fish eat at my feet, slept on a ferry boat, saw so many ancient ruins I began to wonder why I wasn’t wearing a toga, danced on the port of Crete, hiked to the top of Santorini Island and Ancient Delphi and finally, I said goodbye to my school friends and met up with my sister-in-law and mom to begin the second leg of this wonderful adventure.

Greece, I love you.
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Local Adventures: A Night at the Drive-In

drive inNestled between Georgia mountains and resting under the big starry sky is a beautiful place: The Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater.

Marshall and I went there at the beginning of this summer, and it was perfect. For $7 a piece we could park under the stars and cozy in for two feature films still in theaters.

Not only was it romantic, but talk about a cheap date! We left after the first film (The Amazing Spider Man 2) because of the long drive back to Tennessee, but we both felt like we got more than our money’s worth.

Whether or not you’re with a significant other, going to a drive-in movie is an awesome experience. There’s nothing like laying in a truck bed or on the hood of your car, being surrounded by beautiful scenery and feeling like you’ve stepped back into the 1950s. It’s perfect for summer.

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Wherever you are, I highly recommend that you find the closest drive-in theater and make the trip.

Outdoor theater’s are typically only open during warmer months, so grab some friends and take advantage of thisf local adventure this summer! I promise it’ll be an evening for the photo albums.

Have you ever been to a drive-in? Tell me about it in the comments!
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Travel Adventures: Italy in Photos

Hi friends!

I can’t believe I’m already in my fourth week here in Europe, yet at the same time my first week back in Italy feels like months ago. I’ve struggled to find time to write on this trip, but it’s somewhat of a happy struggle because I’ve had such wonderful, full days soaking up every bit of Europe I can.

So for now I thought I’d go way back to my first week in Italy and share some of my favorite photos. Check out snaps from my time in Rome and Florence below and stay tuned for similar photo stories from Greece, Paris, England and Ireland!
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Photo Credit: Haylee Robinson and my trusty iPhone.
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You’re Never Too Old for an Adventure with Your Dad

Father’s Day just passed, but unfortunately I couldn’t be with my dad to celebrate because I’m in Europe (being in Europe is not unfortunate, but I still miss my dad).

Even though we weren’t together, throughout the day I thought about the adventures that my dad and I have been on, and I was once again thankful for the thrill-seeking, adventurous spirit that he passed on to me.

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My dad loves discovering new things, going to new places and challenging himself. I like to think that most of my thirst for memory-making experiences comes from him.

Over the last few years we’ve travelled the country together from behind the steering wheel of my truck. We’ve explored Texas hill country together, road tripped to Colorado (where we almost died at the Black Canyon) and spent close to 100 hours on I-10 driving from Texas to Tennessee and back, talking about life and listening to Elvis Presley.

As I was thinking about my dad yesterday I realized that most of my solo adventures with him happened after I went to college.

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The family, missing two brothers, one sister-in-law, one dog and two cats.

Sure, we had tons of great times before then, but it wasn’t until I moved 900 miles away that I realized how much I appreciate these adventures with my dad. Each new experience lets me get to know him better and simply spend some much needed time with him.

You’re never too old for an adventure with your dad.

At least I never will be. The man rode my first roller coaster with me, taught me how to drive, instilled me with faith and sings “Sweet Caroline” to me every chance he gets. I will always seek out adventures with my dad, and I can bet that he’ll always be on board.

It may be the day after Father’s Day, but there’s no time like the present to go on an adventure with your good ole dad. How do you make memories with your dad? 
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Why I’m Passionate About Finding Adventure in Everyday Life

I wrote this piece in May at my writer’s weekend with Stephanie May of The Lipstick Gospel. 

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This weekend I’m at the Living Room Writer’s Weekend in Atlanta, hosted by The Lipstick Gospel. Stephanie invited women bloggers in all stages of blogging life to join her for a weekend of authenticity, fellowship and blog talk (and lots of starburst).

I’ve learned plenty of tips and tricks for blogging success, but most of all I’ve learned that my story matters, and it deserves to be shared. This blog typically focuses on guides for living adventurously, but today I want to tell you why I’m so passionate about finding adventure in everyday life in the first place.

Here goes:

For me, finding adventure in everyday life is all about joy.

There was a time in my life when everything sucked. I was 16, and like plenty of other dramatic 16-year-olds, I had no clue who I was. I abandoned all of my friends for my absolute-gonna-have-a-double-wedding-and-live-in-a-nursing-home-together best friend, and for many reasons, that friendship didn’t last.

When our friendship “broke up,” I was devastated and had no clue where or who to turn to.

The year before I gave up on my lifelong dream of becoming a professional ballerina and left the pre-professional dance company that I had given my life too.

circa 2009. Obviously I wasn’t the only one in the family going through an identity crisis.

So at 16, friendless and lacking all passion, I had no clue who I was.

There was no happiness in my life. Just bitter and pitiful loneliness.That’s when Joy (yes, with a capital J) stepped in. The Lord took me by surprise that year and gave me a boundless sense of joy that, even when everything in my life was going to hell, let me see the bright side of every situation.

Simply put: I started delighting in the Lord despite the crap in my life, and he filled me with joy.

I found myself smiling without reason, loving myself more and even dreaming about the future, something I had given up on. By the time I turned 17 nothing could stop me.

Having no friends just gave me an opportunity to make new ones, and having no passions meant I could try anything I wanted.

{I quickly found out that basketball isn’t for me, but I did find a new passion when I picked up the guitar!}

Even though pains from the past were still there, I had an insatiable sense of joy.

Now I honestly believe that joy can be found in any situation. What I went through is definitely not the most heartbreaking or desperate situation anyone has ever walked through, but the Lord still promised me joy, and He hasn’t let me down.

There is always joy in the Lord, and where there is joy, there is adventure.

I really do believe that when you’re looking through the lens of joy, adventure can be found anywhere. That’s what The College Cosmopolitan is about.

The College Cosmopolitan is not about trying to make your life more exciting or your Instagram pictures more envy-eliciting. It’s about joy.

Do you relate to my story? How do you find joy?

Photo Credit: Haylee Robinson and Opal Massey. 
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Local Adventures: Hometown Summer Bucket List

DSC_0022So you’re staying in town this summer. Maybe you’re working, in summer school or want to spend time with your family. Whatever your reason, this summer can still be a great adventure.

Remember, adventure is everywhere. Sometimes you just have to find it.

Here’s a hometown summer bucket list to get you started:

  1. Go to a drive-in movie
  2. Paddle board, kayak or canoe on your closet body of water
  3. Jump your heart out at a trampoline park
  4. Have a picnic at your favorite hometown park (and if there’s a swing set, you better be on it)
  5. Go on a sunrise hike
  6. Host a cook-out
  7. Initiate a family night
  8. Be a tourist – find something new in your hometown that you never knew existed
  9. Be a thrill seeker – spend a day at your closest amusement/water park
  10. Shop locally – farmers markets and locally owned boutiques and restaurants are a great source of hometown pride
  11. See a local band play/go to a house concert
  12. Have a bonfire (with s’mores!)
  13. Plan a reunion with high school friends
  14. Road trip to your college friend’s hometown
  15. Bike or walk through your hometown one day instead of driving
  16. Discover a new local nonprofit and volunteer
  17. Take an outdoor yoga class
  18. Sidewalk chalk. You’re not too old.
  19. Visit your grandparents
  20. Write down your adventures, and send them to me!

Use this list and find an unexpected adventure in your own hometown. What’s unique to your town? Take advantage of it this summer. And then tell me all about it! {seriously, I really want to know}
Photo by Haylee Robinson. 

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How to Prepare for Your Next Great Adventure

Have you participated in #MySummerAdventure yet? Check it out here!

By the time you read this I’ll be jet-lagged somewhere in Rome, aimlessly snapping pictures of everything I see.

next adventureRight 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.

Mentally:

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.

Physically:

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.

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Financially:

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.

Spiritually:

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. 
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What Are You Doing This Summer? Share Your Adventures With Me!

If you haven’t already, read about my upcoming summer adventures here.

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I’m leaving in just two short days for Europe! I’m so excited, and instead of freaking out about how much I have left to get done in the next few days, I wanted to propose something to you.

This summer is going to be the biggest adventure of my life.

Maybe your summer looks even more exciting than mine, or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, I want these next few months to be an adventure for you, too.

Not every summer can we pack our bags for three months and travel the world. The opportunities came along for me this year, so I took them. But I know there will be summers when life isn’t this exciting.

I’m sure there will be summers when I’ll have to work and stay in one place. But when those summers come, I will do everything I can to make sure they are still an adventure.

And that’s what I want you to do.

I want you, no matter where you are, to make this summer an adventure.

Smoky Mountain ziplining!

Are you working at home this summer? Use your time off to explore your hometown! Discover things around you that you never knew existed, and who knows what you could find.

Are you traveling this summer? Make the most of it. Choose joy even when you’re tired, and cherish every moment.

Lastly, I want you to share your adventures with me. Tell me what you’re doing. I want The College Cosmopolitan to become a community of people, both men and women, who find adventure wherever they are.

Document your adventures this summer. Take pictures, make videos and write about your favorite moments. Then send them to me.

I want nothing more than to have a collection of adventures in my inbox all summer long. Let’s make this corner of the Internet interactive. Let’s start sharing and create a community of cosmopolitans.

People go on crazy journeys all the time and often don’t get the chance to share their stories as fully as they’d like to. I want this blog to be a place where you can exhaust your stories and give them what they deserve.

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Are you in? Email your stories to me with the subject “My Summer Adventure,” or post them onto The College Cosmopolitan Facebook page. Also, how about we start a hashtag? Tag your Insta/Twitter/Facebook photos with #MySummerAdventure {and be sure to tag me!}

Besides that there are no rules. Just find adventure. Whether you are in your hometown or serving in Cambodia, like my roommate, I want to hear about how you are making the most of this summer.

Give your stories what they deserve. Share them with me, and hey, maybe I’ll share them with others here on the blog!

Let’s see what we can get ourselves into this summer.
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