The Next Adventure

It has been just over six weeks since returning from my Europe trip, six months since I left the states to start that adventure, and about one year since sharing the news that I was leaving Nashville to move back to California to prepare for the trip. It’s an understatement to be sure, but the last year has been a complete whirlwind of emotions and growth that included countless bouts of loneliness, excitement, frustration, and everything in between. After living in that beautiful city for four years, leaving who and what I knew and loved in Nashville proved to be one of the hardest decisions I’ve made thus far, only being slightly surpassed by choosing to solo-travel around Europe for almost five months. Both were difficult choices to make, and yet both were worth it in almost every way.

Speaking of, I realize that I haven’t properly shared an update on how the second half of the trip went (first half is recapped here), and the easiest way to do so is to say that it was even more eye-opening and life-changing than the first.

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Trust in Transition

If there's been one constant or consistent theme in my little life so far, it is change, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. From jobs to friends to passions to cities, it seems that the things in our lives are always moving and changing, and in the midst of the endless transitions, it feels like we are all just doing our best to keep up.  I've been on this earth for almost thirty years, and do you want to know what I've learned about change?  It never ends.  Life is full of change, and there's a very good chance that things will continue to shift as we keep on living; our jobs, our circumstances, the people in our lives, where we live, and everything in between will inevitably continue to grow, morph, and change.  Does this thought freak you out?  If so, you are not alone.  Change is a hard concept for a lot of people because risk and fear are closely associated with it, and that is hard for many to grapple with.  It can mean a disruption in what is familiar and comfortable, or it could potentially be a life-flipped-upside-down kind of thing, and while these are sometimes the results of choice, they can also come at you out of nowhere.  So yes, it makes sense that a lot of people aren't huge fans of change.

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Not So Brave

"You're so brave!"  It's something that I've heard over and over again, from the moment that I shared that I would be quitting my full-time job to take this trip until just today while chatting with someone at my hostel.  It's always an interesting response to this little season of my life, because I don't feel all that brave.  Sure, I suppose it's pretty cool that I felt confident enough to quit my job, move back to my hometown for a season, and then traverse around Europe for a few months, but brave feels like a stretch to me.  Looking back, I was scared when this all started to come together, and I'm still a bit scared now.  From the initial dream to travel and knowing I'd have to leave my job of 4 years, to realizing that moving back home — while weird — was exactly what I needed to do, to planning all of the details and then leaving the states for 4+ months, I've been nervous the whole time.  But it has all come together one step at a time, because I honestly did not have the nerve to jump head first.  No, I had to take baby steps, asking God to affirm anything and everything along the way.  Do you see why "brave" might be hard for me to grasp or accept?

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Salsa Dancing in Barcelona

Prior to leaving for Europe, and prior to moving back to California for that matter, I had convinced myself that I needed to have a season of rest to be "spiritually ready" for such a long and adventurous trip.  I'd been working like a crazy person while in Nashville, logging in anywhere from 60-80 hours per week with all of my jobs, first to pay off debt and then to save for this trip, and was honestly really ready for that busy season to be over.  But once I was in California, I found it very difficult to not be "doing," and therefore didn't rest (to almost no one's surprise I am sure).  Then about two weeks before leaving for London, I had this massive realization that I hadn't done what I thought I was supposed to do (rest), and therefore thought I wasn't going to be ready for the trip because I hadn't spent enough time with Jesus.  But something in my spirit quickly revealed something else: that maybe all of that about rest and spiritual preparation was just some sort of plan I had concocted on my own and wasn't really from God after all, but that maybe — just maybe — the trip itself was the real season of rest and spiritual rejuvenation and growth.

Which brings me to Barcelona...

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