BIBLICAL POINT OF REFERENCE:
“Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
Happy Fourth of July SheCanLaugh readers!
I cannot believe the summer is already halfway over—where has the time gone? It wasn’t long ago that I returned from my European adventure (where I visited Ireland, England, and the Netherlands), so I’m still catching up on what I missed over the last month. My wonderful sisters and contributing writers to SheCanLaugh, Grace and Jacqueline Rae, did an amazing job writing the weekly blog posts over the four weeks I was gone, so I want to thank them for helping us all out!
The last month in Europe taught me a lot; I would imagine new experiences like traveling abroad tend to do that for most people. Now that I’ve had some time for it all to sink in, I’ve been able to focus on the big thoughts I had most while abroad. I’m a big believer in sharing stories and thoughts, so here is my list of biggest takeaways after traveling solo:
1. Unpredictability is part of the journey. I planned my trip for years before I actually took a leap of faith and went, just so that I didn’t have anything crazy happen to me while by myself in a foreign country. But even as much as I prepared and planned, unpredictable things happened every day, and not always good things. Sometimes I got lost (literally, like on the streets of Limerick in Ireland or elsewhere); sometimes I felt like I hadn’t packed the best; I almost missed one of my flights (made it with a solid thirty seconds to spare!); sometimes I felt scared being by myself; and sometimes I was uncomfortable trying new things.
I’m usually not a fan of unpredictability, but now I find it just part of the journey, even when I’m not in a different country. I’m a little more comfortable with uncomfortableness, and I feel better about accepting unpredictable situations as they come.
A view of Limerick City from King John's Castle, Ireland.
2. It’s okay to take some risks. I don’t mean doing something super dangerous or life-threatening, because that’s downright insensible. Obviously you should think before you do something; but that being said, once you have thought about a risk and have deemed it safe to take, take it and enjoy it! Maybe that means trying new foods or going to a different city for the day, or maybe that just means putting your phone away and taking in the view you’re staring at. Whichever it may be, take the risks that will help you grow as a person and become closer to God.
The seaside in Galway, Ireland.
3. Discovering your inner courage is the best adventure. While in Ireland, I decided to go by myself to a small town called Tipperary, where I went horseback riding through the countryside on a horse that really did not seem to like me. One time I took the train by myself into London City and saw Twelfth Night performed at the Shakespeare Globe. I walked an hour back to where I was staying from church by myself one Sunday morning in the Netherlands.
Looking back at these moments, I’m astonished that I did these things at all. I’m not that kind of person—I’m an extravert who likes going places with other people. But I also realize that the moments that I took to myself to have these experiences are some of my favorite memories from my trip. I can be proud of myself for having the courage to choose adventure by myself, and I’m not so intimidated by discovering my own bravery anymore.
My excited face at seeing Twelfth Night at the Shakespeare Globe (behind me) in London.
4. The amazing part about pursuing your dream is when you actually make it happen. I mentioned earlier that I planned for years to make my trip happen, and being able to make it happen was the best feeling in the world. I was living out my dream, something I had wanted for so long, and by the grace of God, I was able to make it a reality for myself. Several times I would have to stop what I was doing and just take in what was going on in my life, and it was usually during those times that I starting crying because I was so happy.
Take it from me: when you make your dream a reality, it will be the most amazing feeling in the world.
Standing on the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.
5. Having faith in God always pays off. When I didn’t think going to Europe by myself would ever be possible, God was there. When complications in planning for my trip occurred, God was there. When I was nervous flying by myself for the first time (and every other time I had to get on a plane), God was there. When I had no idea where I was going on the streets of different Irish cities, God was there. When I had to find a way to get to Mass every weekend, God was there. And when it was time to come home and get back to normal life, God was there to help me appreciate the adventure I had been blessed enough to have.
Having faith in God always, always, always pays off, my sisters. But don’t just have faith in a foreign country. Have it at home, at school, at work, at the mall, during sports practice, at the greatest moments in life, and at the worst moments in life.
The famous canals of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
I didn’t have to go to Europe to learn all this, but I’m definitely glad for the perspective it gave me. We’re all still learning, but it’s alright to take it one day at a time.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and here’s to a new start every day!
Your Laughing Sister,
Check out the CHANGE quotes page for more inspiration!