My teapot runneth over

I fell in love with Moroccan tea last week. It’s minty and sweet and green and delicious. And so, after only 24 hours of friendship, the precious couple that hosted us in Rabat gifted me with yet another perfect metaphor…

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My teapot runneth over.

It just does. It has. Time and time again.

My dad flew over from Virginia to join me for the last two weeks of my trip. And like the rest of my 7.5 month jaunt, the time overflowed in all of the ways:

  1. Driving along the beach with the windows down, only to stop for happy hour with a view, feels like all of summer’s goodness. Perfection.IMG_1875
  2. The castle in Sintra looks like Disney came to life. Magical.IMG_1833
  3. There is no greater ‘office’ than a beach cabana in Portugal’s Algarve. Inspiring. 
  4. A box of Crayola’s exploded all over Chefchauoen, Morocco. Fact.
  5. Portuguese bull fights are the most bizarre spectacle imaginable. Dislike. I❤️Bulls.
  6. The leather tanneries and hand-made fabric weavers and pottery artisans in Fez are mind boggling. Souvenirs.
  7. Germany feels more like home than I remember it feeling when it WAS home 10 years ago. Perspective.
  8. The Lowenbrau Haus at the Munich Oktoberfest on opening night is where sobriety comes to die. Lethal. 
  9. I am now fiercely independent and so in that way, more like my dad than ever. Headbutt.  
  10. Despite headbutts, the irony is not lost on me that I was inspired to explore the world because of a man who broke my heart. And I’ll return home with one who would do about anything in his power to keep it whole. Grace.

Portugal and Morocco and Deutschland in two weeks…What else would you expect when traveling with the Colonel?

Runneth. Over.

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‘Growth and Grace’ takes flight

I hope to use this place to document my ‘goods’ and reflect on my ‘painful’…not for any reason other than, I believe in the power of storytelling–that it might resonate, that it might encourage, that it might bring peace. So, while I know I’ll have plenty of ‘goods’ to look forward to and have a memory box FULL of ‘amazing’s’ [reminiscent blog posts on which to come]…for context’s sake, let me just admit a few of not-so-beautiful things…

If you read this or this, you might have picked up on the fact that I’ve done some hurting lately. This past year has challenged me like none before. Sure, I’m only 26 [or am I 27? For the life of me, I cannot remember….a ridiculously perfect demonstration of my chaos these days]. But I’d bet money that I’ve lived a lot more life than most 90-year-olds. In some very good ways, and in some very painful ways.

While I’m no stranger to tear-inspiring moments, I’ve cried a lot in 2014. I’ve had cancer and been cheated on and had my family broken and watched not one, but two parents fight cancer–all in the last 5 years, mind you. But nothing, not one of those life-altering experiences holds a flame to this past year. The sparkle that once dazzled my heart and ring finger all the same, was put to rest. Not in a mutual kind of way either…the way that feels so surreal and paralyzing that one whole calendar year later and I still think it must be a dream. A dream that I’d still like to wake up from…I just know I won’t.

So I’m forced to make new dreams, I guess.

Here’s where ‘growth and grace’ really takes flight–literally.

My new dream is to learn to be okay. To be alone and quiet and still and calm. To have nobody and nothing and realize I’m still somebody who has everything. To breathe. To rest. To cry. To give myself grace when I cry too long. But to grow with each inhale and steady my heart with each exhale. I want to do yoga with the sunrise and walk along the beach at sunset. I want to fuel my body with new and interesting foods and sip wine from grapes grown on foreign soil. I want to grow closer to God and feel him guide my movements. I want to smile and know that it’s radiating from the inside. I just want to heal.

My dream for this year, this new year, is very simple. I want to feel like me again.

So, I’m going on a trip. For 6 months or 9 months or somewhere in between.

No, I don’t have every bit of it planned…probably not even half of it. I’m not sure when I’ll run out of money or how long this will feel fun. I’m not sure where I’ll stay in Bali or how to read a menu in Vietnam. I don’t know how long I’ll stay in Italy or if Germany will still feel nostalgic. I don’t know how I’ll get from Norway to Spain. But I do know that I feel more at peace over this decision than I’ve felt in a whole year. Maybe a whole 26 years..[maybe a whole 27?]. I’m doing this.

The way I figure, I know how to do the things I know how to do. I know how to make friends and find good deals. I know to dream big, but keep my safety net. I know that I want to see the Christmas Markets in Austria, but if I need to come home early for some momma time, then that’s okay too.

For the other things, I suppose I’ll just figure it out. No hostel mishap or losing my camera or flight delays compare to the confusion I’ve already felt. That, I’m certain of. So in that way, I’m guaranteed to win–already guaranteed growth.

I’m going on a trip around the world, not to run away or ‘find myself.’ In fact, I very much know who I am. I’m going on a trip around the world to bring perspective to my pain and solitude for my questions. I don’t have all the answers. But by God’s grace, I hope I’ll have a few more when I come home.

And yes. I’m smiling right now just thinking about how long I’ll stay in Italy and how I’ll figure out how to read a menu in Vietnamese.

Here’s to small wins, big gains and huge travels.

Here’s to ‘growth and grace.’