Sunday, November 29, 2009

Any Given Sunday

Any given Sunday, there is a battle. A battle between good and evil; between my Lord and Satan; between my laziness and my determination.

The battle is usually between church, hot yoga, or nothing. I usually know before I go to bed on Saturday night whether or not I’m going to church in the morning. Unfortunately, I don’t have a permanent church home right now, so it’s easy to find an excuse not to go. I do much better when I have people to go with, and when I have someone to hold me accountable. But on occasion, and more often than not lately, that doesn’t happen. But the battle is still there in my head.

I have no problem getting up in the mornings, but I seem to have a problem getting motivated to do something. And with me being the queen of justification, I can talk myself into, or out of, just about anything. For example, this was the battle going on inside of my head this morning as I lay in bed awake at 7:00 am (keeping in mind that I already knew I wasn’t going to church this morning):

Lisa “A” – (yawns, stretches, turns to look at the clock). Oh, it’s 7:00 am. I should get up and have some coffee then head to hot yoga for the 8:15 am class. It will make me feel so good about myself! And then I won’t feel so guilty about not going to church. I mean, exercise is important right? And I can burn off some of those extra Thanksgiving calories. Win/win situation!

Lisa “B” – Yes, you should. But, on the other hand, it wouldn’t be so bad if you stayed home to finish putting up the Christmas decorations in the house. That way you will feel so much better and organized, and the house won’t be a disaster, and you can start the work week off on Monday morning feeling great about what you’ve accomplished!

Lisa “A” – But, if I was really efficient, I could go to hot yoga AND finish putting up decorations, and squeeze in everything else in between the other plans I have for the day. Just throw on your yoga clothes and go.

Lisa “B” – Ok, deal. Let me just look up something on the internet quickly while I’m waiting for the coffee to brew and I have a few extra minutes, then I’ll get ready.

30 minutes later….

Lisa ”B” – (as I’m sitting at the computer sipping my coffee). I mean, I really don’t think I have time to do hot yoga AND finishing my decorating for Christmas after all. It just won’t fit into my day and I don’t want to be stressed about organizing the house later in the day. I want to be able to relax tonight to get mentally prepared for work since I’ve been off for a few days.

Lisa “A” – (huffing and puffing). Fine. Just sit on your fat bum at home, and when you finally getting around to putting up Christmas decorations, I hope you’re happy. Just remember that those pieces of pumpkin pie aren’t going to walk away from your hips on their own.

Ok, so the reenactment above may not give you the most accurate picture, but you get the gist. It really truly happens any given Sunday. Not kidding. My first struggle is always whether or not to go to church. I’ll be open and honest here (as long as you promise not to judge). I know that I should be going to church. But without having a church home, I don’t feel drawn to any one place, which makes it hard to commit. I have good intentions, I really do, but sometimes that’s just not enough. I know that’s no excuse, but that’s all I’ve got right now.

Then, the next struggle has to do with something else that I know is good for me: hot yoga. I LOVE hot yoga. It’s actually a love/hate relationship. I hate it when I’m in the midst of it, but love how I feel afterwards. And I just KNOW that I’m doing my body good. Lots of good.

But, the temptation to sit at home, or go run errands, or catch up with a friend, or whatever else is there to distract me, sometimes is just too strong. And I don’t necessarily think that it’s God vs Satan each time. Sometimes I think it’s a good thing to catch up on life. Sometimes I think that’s what God needs for us to do. It’s certainly better than physically sitting in church, worshipping and hearing the message, but being distracted by the million different things that are going through your mind and not listening to the message. Satan’s gotta love that!

I have other ways that I connect with God and have good Christian fellowship. I have a fantastic small group of ladies whom I do a Bible study with on a weekly basis. And meeting with them is sometimes the glue that keeps me together that particular week. And I jam at the top of my lungs to Christian music most of the time that I’m in my car, which gets me thinking and praying a lot while I’m driving. Living in Houston, that’s probably a good thing!

So, as I wind down another Sunday evening, am I disappointed with myself and what I accomplished today? No. Do I wish that maybe my day would’ve gone differently? Sure. But decisions were made early this morning that I can’t take back. I didn’t go to church. I didn’t go to hot yoga. I did finish putting up my Christmas decorations. And luckily I had Bible study with my girls tonight to top off my day. So all in all, the day wasn’t so bad after all. It was any given Sunday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Lazy Friend

I remember the exact moment that I joined. I had heard all of the buzz about this “Facebook” thing, and decided that I should cave in and give it a whirl. It was sometime around July 2007 when I jumped on the bandwagon. And I’ve been going full steam ahead ever since.

Conceptually, I don’t have a problem with Facebook and actually quite like it. I love that I’ve been able to reconnect with some people after many, many years. It’s particularly interesting to see what high school friends are up to these days. And I love that I can keep up with all of my friends from Australia without much effort. Facebook is a lazy way to be a friend. And in today’s crazy and hectic world, who doesn’t appreciate a shortcut every once in a while?

I remember thinking to myself, “I’ll never be one of those people”. You know, the people constantly looking at their Blackberry to see what’s going on in the world of Facebook? And I’m constantly being distracted by the glow from an iPhone that I see in a movie theater or in other cars while driving at night. On occasion, I morph into one of those people. And I hate it. And I consciously (and sometimes out loud) tell myself “Don’t do it Lisa! Put the Blackberry down!” But it’s an addiction. I can’t help it. At least it won’t kill me right? :-)

There are other drawbacks to Facebook as well. It isn’t just the fact that people waste away hours upon hours searching and navigating through all of their friends; or playing a variety of games from Bejeweled Blitz, to Farkle, to Farmville, to Mafia Wars (I’m proud to say none of which I’ve ever played). But there are more serious drawbacks. Here are my thoughts, for what they’re worth:

· Facebook makes you think that the world really cares. Have you noticed that people use Facebook to vent about their lives? It’s like they are bitter about something and want to get it out there in hopes that whoever they are bitter at will see it and read between the lines. Or they want people to feel sorry for them. According to Facebook, it “helps to connect and share with the people in your life”. Unless I’ve misunderstood, I don’t believe Facebook is an online counselor.

· Facebook takes away from personal interaction. Do you ever notice how people will have entire conversations through Facebook via a status update or wall post? What happened to text messaging, or email, or heaven forbid, a phone call? Do you really think that all of your other friends will care where you’ll meet someone and when? Or that you’ll call them tomorrow? Now, I admit that there are times that I’ve fallen into this trap. Sometimes we are selfish enough to think that the world cares (see above) and kind of want everyone to know what’s going on. And sometimes, messaging someone on Facebook is the only way to get through to them. But that’s what an Inbox is for people. Some things are better kept private.

· Facebook is not Twitter. If I want to know what you’re doing every second of every day, and if you feel the need to update your status 10 times in one day, we’re both using the wrong application. I believe that’s what Twitter is for. Go tweet. Don’t clog up my homepage with your endless status updates. By the time I check my homepage, I’ve missed half of them anyway.

· Facebook makes me a stalker. I admit it; I can be a Facebook stalker. I hate that about myself too. I really shouldn’t be that interested in any one person that much. Now, I do tend to return to a handful of pages on a regular basis because they usually have hilarious status updates or they are close friends whom I like to keep tabs on. But in general, I care about some people way too much. And I’m not telling you who you are!

· Facebook can cause me to feel like a loser. Before Facebook came along, I may not have had plans for an evening or a weekend, and I was totally fine with that. But now, I pull up Facebook on a Sunday evening or Monday morning, and all I see are people’s photos of their fun and amazing weekend plastered everywhere. And I think “Geez, I’m a loser.” I should’ve been out doing something. Generally I’m ok with that, but on occasion, it bothers me for some reason. What has happened to this world that a website should dictate how I feel about myself? Yikes!

Now, after all of this, I’m still an avid Facebook user. I think that it provides an opportunity for people to reconnect over what has become a totally acceptable form of communication. But I also want to focus on not falling into the Facebook traps. I want to NOT be a lazy friend to those people who matter the most to me, and I don’t want Facebook to take the place of building and maintaining relationships with people.

Having said all of that, I do get a warm fuzzy feeling when someone posts something nice about me on my wall, or “likes” a status update or a photo, and I appreciate people doing that, so all is not lost on those gestures. I do love Facebook. But I don’t want it to run my life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving Thanks

As we head into the holiday season, this is when I really think and feel with every ounce in my body, that “this is the most wonderful time of the year”. I love the dreary, cold, overcast skies of Houston (welcome to our winter), the opportunity to wear a jacket (at least in the mornings and evenings), the holiday decorations and Christmas music playing in all of the stores (and the gift shopping that goes along with it), the gobs of family time, the extra spiritual tug at my heart, and the feeling that every day is just kinda special in its own way. Each day after Thanksgiving, and until I go back to work after Christmas and the New Year, is like a holiday to me. There’s just a certain feel about it. And sometimes I have to remind myself that I do actually have to work!

Everyone is anticipating the celebration of Christmas in their own individual way. Some spend it at church, at every opportunity, to remember and celebrate the birth of their Savior. Some travel countless miles to spend it with family and others that they love. Some stay close at home, because that’s the most important place to them. Some travel the world to immerse themselves in Christmas traditions in another country. But regardless, people just seem to be more friendly, less impatient, more gracious, and it just seems wrong to be in a foul mood or get upset with someone during this time of the year.

I truly feel that Christmas has become far too commercialized and secular, but if it brings the world together, even for a split second – if it makes us all one big happy family, then for that split second, it might just be ok. I mean, at what other time of the year is it ok to drive around Houston with a wreath attached to the front grill of your truck? Or antlers hanging off of your antenna? :-)

This is why I had such a hard time celebrating the holidays in Australia. First of all, there was no Thanksgiving to kick off the season. But the larger problem for me, was that it was smack dab in the middle of summer. How wrong is that? Why is it ok for Santa Claus to ride a jet ski instead of a sleigh? Why is it ok to have a barbecue on the beach Christmas Day in your bathing suit instead of sitting in front of a fireplace sipping hot chocolate and bundled up in a cozy blanket? Well, I’m not knocking the Southern Hemisphere at all, it was just hard to get into the spirit of Christmas down there. My body was programmed for things to happen a certain way, and that certainly wasn’t it!

This is also the time of year that I sit back and reflect, and become more aware and thankful for the many blessings that I have in my life. Small ones, big ones, ones that I’ll never realize are actually blessings, and ones that I’ve been thankful for my entire life.

Talking about this reminds me of the one year in Australia that another American and I made a Thanksgiving feast for our Aussie friends. We raided the USA Foods Store in Melbourne to get the key ingredients, and then improvised with whole chickens instead of turkey (it’s super expensive to get a whole turkey down there). Everyone played along and was very much looking forward to the feast ahead of them. And then I told them that it was tradition in some families in America to go around the table at Thanksgiving and tell everyone what you were thankful for. I envisioned the Aussies making this a game, or humorous in some way, because that’s what they are so good at. But, I was pleasantly surprised when they actually took it seriously. You see, people are always open to the opportunity to tell others what’s important to them.

So, as we sat around that table in Melbourne, in late November, in the middle of summer, and celebrated our American Thanksgiving, they got to listen to me tell them how thankful I was for them, my great friends who had become my family down in Oz, for my opportunity to even be living down there, and for the health and safety of my American family back home. And I got to listen to them talk about how thankful they were for all of the special people in their lives, and for the opportunity to engage themselves in this touching American tradition.

So, as another holiday season is just around the corner, it’s that time again – time to give thanks. I’m not going to list out everything that I am thankful for in this blog. That would be far too long a list and take up a lot of space. But, I will certainly spend extra time to remember all of my blessings and say some extra prayers for all of the special people in my life. And I encourage you at some point this week and throughout the holiday season, as we gear up for hours upon hours of family time, food, football, and shopping, to sit back and reflect on the many blessings in your life. Because this truly is “the most wonderful time of the year”. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eight Ounces

So, play along with me for a minute. Imagine that each morning we are given an empty glass. We can fill it with eight ounces of whatever we choose. I'm not thinking about orange juice, or coffee, or milk. Rather, I'm thinking about eight ounces of anger, hurt, love, compassion, joy, envy, bitterness, forgiveness, rage...whatever feelings we want. Whatever makes us tick at that particular moment. But whatever we choose to put in that glass, whatever makes up those eight ounces, we're stuck with it for the day. Anything else we try to fit in our glass just spills over the edge.

And this is where our choice comes in. Our choice of how we are going to start our day. You see, I've always been a morning person. I function much better early in the morning when I'm refreshed. And I love starting something new. Even if it is just a day, and even if I get to do it 365 times a year.

For several weeks now, I've been doing this fantastic Bible study with three equally fantastic ladies. It's a weekly study with five days of "assignments" to complete. I've found that I enjoy doing my assignments the most in the mornings while I'm having my coffee and breakfast. It's certainly more productive than doing a Sudoku puzzle! I've also found that when I start my mornings with my Bible study, my eight ounce glass gets filled early in the day with love, peace, hope, gratitude, joy - it is filled with God. What a perfect way to start each day! Everything else that comes along during the day and tries to cram itself into my glass just spills over the edge. God keeps my glass full! Yay!

Now, I refer you to my blog post from this past Sunday. You know, the one about my "funk"? Because of various reasons, we have not had Bible study for three weeks. Hmmm. This means that I have not been waking up every morning looking forward to my daily assignment. Hmmm. So, what that means (and this is a completely uneducated guess here), is that my eight ounce glass in the morning gets filled with other things. Like the stress that I feel thinking about my to-do list at work. Or the frustration that I sometimes feel driving to the office. Along with my impatience waiting for the elevator in the lobby of my building. And the jealousy that I may have for the woman next to me who is dressed so much cuter than me that day.

You see, I think that when we don't put God first, when we cram Him in at the end of the day, or at the bottom of the list, we let everything else consume our lives. And I'm no expert, but I don't think that's how we are supposed to live our lives. I don't think that's what God intended for us.

So my challenge to you (and I'll certainly do this as well), is to try your absolute hardest to fill your eight ounce glass every day, with God and the things that He represents. Let Him consume you and fill your glass. It has to be better than dealing with all of the other stuff. That's just logical right? Let's all try to be "morning people" for His sake, and for ours. I'm rather confident that doing this will deliver me out of my "funk". And that's a place, a destination, that I certainly would like to be.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Crooked Smile

Lately I’ve been walking around with a crooked smile. What’s that you ask? A crooked smile is the one that you give when someone or anyone asks you how you are, and you don’t really want to tell them the truth, so instead, you give them a smile that hopefully satisfies their need to hear “I’m doing great!”, when inside you’re just really not doing that great. Now, I’ll follow that up by saying that I’m not severely depressed, I don’t need mass intervention – I’m just in a funk. And it sucks.

It’s the kind of funk that if you’re the right person, and you catch me at the right moment, I may just burst into tears, followed up by a twenty minute rant about how I hate being in a funk. That’s not normally how I am. I pride myself on being emotionally stable. But when the storm clouds rolls in, and instead of pushing through, they hang over my head, you get my crooked smile. On the bright side, at least I realize that I’m in a funk. At least I’m not in denial!

The thing is, I know some of the reasons that I’m in a funk. And that makes it so much more frustrating, because normally I can deal with these things and move on. But there’s other stuff out there, bigger stuff that I don’t have a grasp of yet. I don’t mean to sound all philosophical and cheesy, but it’s true. It’s like I have been on a sugar high in my life lately, and now I’ve crashed. And I’m trying so hard to stabilize.

Little things can have such an impact on me. For example, a morning that starts out great can become cloudy as soon as someone cuts me off in traffic on the way to work (which is only a 3 mile commute, by the way). Or something as small as the fact that someone left something on my desk at work in the particular spot where I always put my computer bag when I arrive to work in the mornings. And now I can’t put it there. Who really cares? I know, I know. But it sets me off. Not on a rant and rave. I’m not going to go screaming at anybody. But inside, the storm has started brewing. It’s ridiculous. And I’ll say it again, it sucks.

So what is causing this funk? Well, in a nutshell, I’ve woken up to the reality that a relationship really is over. I have been holding on for weeks. And it wasn’t really supposed to be cold turkey, but it kind of ended up that way. Being friends never really works anyway does it? Maybe it’s better, but it was an important relationship to me, and it’s a hard reality. And then there are the few times lately that plans have changed or been cancelled, and I haven’t been able to let that roll off of my back as quickly as usual. For a planner like me, it’s sometimes a little harder to understand. And it’s the ten thousand people who are getting married and having babies, whom I love dearly and am extremely supportive and proud of, but all of these events of joy for everyone else bring up the feelings of “Why not me?”. I know, you’re saying, “Get over yourself Lisa”. And that’s fair enough. But that’s easier said than done when you’re deep down in a funk.

And what about these other larger things that I don’t have a grasp of yet, that I know are part of my funk? When do I find out what those are and how to deal with them? It’s like I’m at a crossroads in my life and I need to pick a direction, and I have too many choices and not enough information to make a decision. And I don’t want to go with my gut (because let’s be honest, I’m an auditor and I analyze way too much). But then again, maybe I should go with my gut? Maybe that’s my whole problem. Maybe God is in my gut. Maybe I need to follow Him instead of my analytical mind. But He gave me that too right? Uggh! You see what I deal with all of the time? No wonder I’m in a funk!

I’m not going to act like I’m special here. I know everyone goes through this at some point in their lives, or probably several times actually. Maybe our lives are supposed to be like this so that we are forced to step back and reevaluate every now and then. Maybe we should regularly do an inventory of our lives and decide what we should keep and what we need to throw away; what’s a necessity versus what’s a luxury; what’s a positive force in our lives, and what brings us down. I think I need to go do that inventory. Maybe that will help me get out of my funk. Maybe the crooked smile can again become a beaming smile – the one that makes my eyes twinkle.

Until then, I’m trying to do little things that will help keep me positive and not get bogged down in my funk. Like this morning, I made vanilla pumpkin coffee and put on my new Third Day Christmas CD. Christmas music always cheers me up. I know that it’s only mid-November, but if I know it makes me happy, then why the heck not? And I booked a trip to Scotland for the end of this year/beginning of next year, to see two of my favorite ladies in the world and their adorable kiddos. And what’s even better, is that I got to use miles so that I don’t feel guilty about spending the money. And I’ve started going back to hot yoga regularly, which always seems to brighten my spirits and is a treat for this accountant’s body that sits in an office at a computer all day. And I’m trying to spend more quality time with the people who are most important to me, rather than trying to spend my time with everyone. Don’t we all find that we can busy ourselves with other things and other people? And by doing this we feel like we are busy, happy and important? And we think that's a good thing? But when it boils down to it, all of that ends up being more of a burden than anything else because we’re taking away time from being with the people who can get us out of a funk. And those people are the keepers.

So, I will make a toast now with my vanilla pumpkin coffee, to brighter days ahead, friends who snap us back into reality and help us get out of a funk, Christmas music, traveling the world, cuddly fat cats, and whatever happens to make your smile straight! :-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lukewarm People

(Disclaimer: There is a high likelihood that by the end of this post, you will think that I am a super cheesy person. Well, I've got news for you.....I am. And I'm surprisingly ok with that. Enjoy!)

So I'm not sure if this is plagiarizing or copyright infringement, or something far worse, but I'm reading a book right now called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Francis, if you're reading this, please don't think of this as plagiarism. I'm giving you credit where credit is due. And honestly, you should think that it's flattering that I'm posting about you and your book on my blog. That's how impactful it's been on me!

Crazy Love is an intense, in-depth look at the "crazy love" that we are supposed to have for our God. And I'll tell you, it's an eye opener! I know I'm inadequate as a human being. I accept that fact. What this book has taught me though, is that I'm not doing what I need to do in response to that. There is one particular chapter in this book that really got to me. It was a chapter entitled "Profile of the Lukewarm". The context around this chapter is summed up here: "Would you describe yourself as totally in love.....or do the words halfhearted, lukewarm, or partially committed fit better?"

And there were several concepts that the author shared as his view of these types of people. I've selected a few of his concepts and put them below. When you read them, ask yourself if you are lukewarm. I think that most of us are. And then ask yourself what you can do to build more passion, enthusiasm, and pure, undying, uninhibited devotion to God. If you aren't a Christian or aren't really sure what you believe, than apply it to your life in general. Apply it to how you live your life on a daily basis, and see what you think.

Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe "Good Christians" do.

Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church .... as long as it doesn't impinge on their standard of living.

Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of the church.

Lukewarm people don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.

Lukewarm people gauge their morality or "goodness" by comparing themselves to the secular world.

Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give.

Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today's to-do list, this week's schedule, and next month's vacation.

Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum to be "good enough" without requiring too much of them.

Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever.

And possibly my favorite:

Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. The don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens - they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them - they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live - they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis - their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health.

Do you want to be lukewarm? I don't think so!
Do you want to be fiery hot? That's more like it!

I want the passion that I have for the things that I love to ooze out of every one of my pores. And I love love LOVE it when people around me are passionate about something. Even if it's a sports team, or an exercise class, or their dog. Or God. Passionate people make life worth living. They put my faith back in humans as caring and compassionate people. And passionate people aren't lukewarm. Go out and find your passion today!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


For those of you who know me at all, you know that I L-O-V-E to travel, particularly international travel. There is just something about foreign places, exotic accents, different cultures, and getting away from the "norm" that I have come to know as America, that draws me to board a plane for a long haul over the water.

I haven't always been this way. Prior to the start of my international rotation to Australia back in mid-2003, I had not really traveled internationally. For a Texan, Mexico doesn't count; I don't care what you say, it doesn't. It's connected. Canada doesn't count either. Sorry to disappoint you folks. Once I got to Australia, I discovered that the Aussies travel all over the world. They have to though, as there is really nothing else close by. I quickly developed a fierce passion for traveling and haven't really been able to stop yet. But that's ok, because I don't want to.

I often ask myself why I'm like this. Why, after all those years of being happily domestic, did I all of a sudden have this passion to travel? Here's what it boils down to:

  • the thrill: there is an almost tangible thrill that I experience planning for a big trip. It's something about knowing that I'm going to be doing something different and out of the ordinary. I love packing, I love shopping for travel necessities, I love booking things online, and I love getting the passport ready for its next stamp. I get away from my normal life. And although I'm ok traveling alone, it's an even bigger thrill when I know that I've got some of my fav people going with me. And I also love hopping on a big plane and settling in for movies, dinner, and the whole experience!

  • the culture: I know this will sound very cliche, but I love learning about different cultures. When I travel, I like to limit my trips to a couple of destinations so that I have time to truly experience the culture of where I am and almost feel like a local by the time I leave. I'll admit, it's quite daunting for me to arrive in a new country and have to get through the first meal without complete embarrassment. It's not really embarrassment, but each country has it's own quirks and rhythms, and until I know what those are, I feel a bit silly. But as long as I remain an open-minded smiling lady, I usually don't have too many problems!

  • the example: Ok, I'll admit this too. Part of the reason that I love to travel internationally is because a lot of Americans don't. The travel bug is slowly making it's way to the west, but in general, Americans are quite country-centric and tend to feel that they don't need to see the rest of the world. Why would we? We have everything that we need here. But people....there is an entire great big ole world out there that is just begging to be discovered!! I travel because I hope that it will inspire other people to travel.

  • accomplishment: I'm not kidding when I say this: when I can make it from one side of London to the other, making three tube switches, riding a bus, AND get to my destination on time and without a hitch, I feel like I can conquer the world! That's just one example, but the bottom line is, being half-way across the world and being able to accomplish what you've set out to accomplish is a very rewarding feeling! Especially for an independent and "in control" girl like me :-)

  • adventure: some trips are more adventurous than others, but they all provide me with the opportunity to step outside of the "bounds" of my life. There are so many sacred places in this world, so many historical sites, that I just can't pass up the opportunity to go see them. I crave adventure! For this accountant, the prospect of my next trip keeps me going in my everyday life.

Maybe as I get older I'll be interested in other aspects of travel. Perhaps I'll want to go on a mission trip at some point. And I'm sure that once I settle down and have a family of my own, domestic travel will have a lot more appeal. That's part of the thrill of it all! And just for the record, it's very difficult for me to return to a place that I've already been. I feel like I'm wasting time. Like I'm playing favorites and not giving the rest of the world a chance to share itself with me. But, I find myself doing this on occasion, and I'm ok with that.

Here is a summary of some of my favorite places that I've traveled and why I loved them so much:

Thailand: the genuineness of the people, the cheap & amazing food, the raw beauty, the diverse landscape, and, I won't lie, the amazing Thai massages that were like $10 for an hour. I wish I could've brought one of those ladies home with me for good.

Egypt: the history, the innocence of some children and the awe that others were so conniving, being exposed to a completely different yet bold culture and religion, waking up in my sleeping bag under the stars in the Western Desert and being in awe of the vastness of it, traveling down the Nile in a sailboat and for the first and only time in my life, being completely serene and at peace with myself.

Peru: the delicious food, the variety of terrain, the challenge that the Inca Trail and high altitudes brought me, the welcoming nature of the people.

Greece: absolute stunning beauty, those famous 2 Euro gyros that us girls ate all day long, cheap & delicious wine, sunsets, the adorable Greek shop owners who kept thinking I was Greek because I could sort of carry on a conversation with them in Greek, spending quality time with the girls.

London: hands down one of my favorite places in the world. Such rich art & culture, fresh fish & chips, the tube, the Queen (I love the concept of royalty), the history, the accents, the sometime hideous fashion that they wear so confidently, the Indian food, etc etc etc. Yay for London!

I've only included a few tidbits of my travels above. And I've left out any thoughts or memories of Oz since to me that was life for almost three years. I'm very fortunate to have people across the world whom I can go visit and stay with, which makes traveling even better! I have been to six continents so far, and at this point, I don't really have the desire to hit up Antarctica. Who knows though, maybe that will change some day. Here is the current short list of my next desired destinations:

  • India

  • Tanzania (to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro)

  • Spain

  • Scandinavia (I really want to stay at an ice hotel in Sweden!)

So if anyone is up for the challenge, let's go!

I often wonder if by traveling I'm getting away from my life. Is there a reason that I like to leave my world and travel half way across the rest of it? Am I trying to avoid reality? Do I have these unknown issues in my life that I'm trying to run away from? I don't think so. I think I just really love it. And why shouldn't we all do the things that we truly love? Why shouldn't we all step outside the bounds of our lives every now and then and experience something new and different? I guarantee that if you step outside the bounds of your life, it will change you forever.