Why I’m Not in Guatemala

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Remember when I first wrote about my Summer of Travel and announced that this summer I’ll visit Europe, California and Guatemala?

Well, change of plans: my trip to Guatemala is cancelled.

For many reasons, mostly due to bad timing, the church rescheduled the trip for November, which I won’t go on because I’ll be in school.

When I found out I had two very different reactions. My first reaction, as much as I hate to admit it, was relief.

After five weeks of non-stop travel in Europe, only six days of rest and then another two weeks in California, my body, soul and mind are just done.

I knew that another trip would leave me even more exhausted and not at all ready for the quickly approaching fall semester.

And I know this is my favorite topic lately, but I need time to process all that has happened this summer. My head is still spinning from events that took place in May! I need time to ponder, evaluate and unpack all that all that I’ve learned.

How did this experience change me? What does that change mean, and what does it practically look like to incorporate it into my daily life?

We have to process through experiences and feelings in order to make them more than mere sightseeing excursions. 

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Traveling is about more than seeing pretty places. It’s a beautiful way to learn and widen our view of the world, and when we aren’t treating it like an edifying journey, we cheapen our experience and waste frequent flyer miles.

When we give ourselves time to process everything we’ve seen and learnt, we can discover new truths about our beliefs and ourselves. Then, we can pack those truths into a metaphorical daypack (go with me) to carry around on the rest of our journey.

Our journey, whether it looks like traveling to distant lands or navigating daily life, can become connected. We don’t have to leave our incredible experiences in the past; longing for the day we can hop on another plane and set off on another incredible adventure.

You can continue your adventure right where you are by processing the experience and applying what you learned.

Don’t leave truths in the exotic places where you discovered them. Take them with you, and then, instead of constantly reminiscing and longing for your past adventures, you can live a thankful, present-minded life.

So friends, give yourself time to process your adventures. Look for lessons and find the hidden truths.

As much as I was looking forward to my trip to Guatemala, I’m thankful for the time to process and write through the most incredible summer of my life.

How do you process? What truths have you learned through your travels?

On Thursday I’ll talk about my second reaction to the cancelled trip: what to do when you lose an adventure. 

Photo Credit: Guatemalan volcanos from Anna Eaton; Florence, Italy by Haylee Robinson. 

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Travel Adventures: three lessons from NYC

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Welcome to the first post of my latest series: Traveling Adventures! It’s probably obvious, but this series will be all about traveling: places I see, people I meet, things I learn and hopefully some wisdom about how to make the most of your own travels. I absolutely love my local adventures, but I’ve got to get outside my box every now and then.

I just got back from an incredible spring break in New York City, and along with the “Newsies” soundtrack stuck in my head, and Brooklyn style pizza in my stomach, I came home with a few new lessons learned.

1. My desires/career goals/what I want out of life are a moving target. 

New York City is the city of endless possibilities. In the five days that I was there I came up with twenty new ideas for what I want to do with my life. Although, about 17 of those ideas involve working at Hearst Tower, which I got to tour, and oh my gosh, it was magical. NYC is inspiring and overwhelming at the same time, and I had tons to think about on the plane ride home. Have you ever felt this way after a visit to the city?

2. There’s more to the city than flashing lights.

This was only my second time to the city that never sleeps (read about my first trip on my old, kind of embarrassing blog here), and the first time I played the role of a full-on tourist and spent the majority of the trip in Times Square and the Manhattan neighborhood we were staying in. This year we stayed in Queens, and along with some good times in Time Square I ventured out and explored smaller Manhattan neighborhoods, Union Square, Soho, Queens and Brooklyn. I honestly can’t believe how much character and diversity is packed into one city, and when I  got out of the Times Square circus and walked the streets of those smaller neighborhoods, stopping at farmer’s markets and a restaurant that looked like it was right out of “How I Met Your Mother,” I could actually picture a life there. What are your favorite parts of the city? What places should I check out next time?

3. Dreams really do come true in NYC.

Like I said before, while I was there I had the incredible opportunity of touring Hearst Tower, where Hearst Corporations, the owner of Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmo, Seventeen, Esquire, Redbook and tons of other magazines, resides. I was in absolute heaven. At the end of the tour we got to sit down with a group of editor’s at Elle Magazine (!!!!), and I just couldn’t believe how young some of them were. When they described their career path to get where they are today, they were not at all what I expected. Actually, quite a few of them didn’t even major in journalism in school, but through one random job or connection they ended up at Elle Magazine. Listening to their stories taught me that it is possible to accomplish big things at a young age. I’ve always had this idea that I’d have to settle for a less-than-desirable job before making it in the “big time.” I’m not saying it won’t be hard to establish a career, or there won’t be a period of paying dues, but hey? Why not aim high and go for crazy things? If anything, NYC is the city of opportunities.

Do you have any stories or lessons that you learned in NYC? Can you relate to any of my lessons? I’d love to hear them.

*First photo is by my lovely roommate Haylee Robinson; all other photos by Shane Tretheway (he’s lovely too, I suppose).