The Nitty Gritty of World Travel

“Traveling the world” sounds so enchanting.

Sun saturated beaches, cloud wrapped mountain peaks, unfamiliar yet striking architecture.

More often than not, however, it’s like riding a bus, careening along the side of imposing mountains, with diesel fumes wafting in through rusted, half shut windows.

The locals are staring at us because we don’t fit in, and, usually, it’s because we’re doing exactly what we’re doing in this photo:



 We’re carrying a pot with a plate for a lid, on a bus with no air conditioning, to ride lurchingly through unfamiliar terrain as we travel to a potluck on the other side of the island. We live here without a vehicle, forgoing many “American” amenities like kitchen containers, long, hot showers, and our favorite *ahem* organic yogurt. We have become expert at hitching by necessity, as well as ignoring the symphony of cicadas, tree frogs and roosters outside our window so we can sleep at night.

This? This sweaty, awkward, amazing existence? This is world travel. This is leaving your comfort zone so you have the chance to meet remarkable and outrageous people; to see stunning places you  have only ever experienced before as a photo, or dream.


 Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers, and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things- air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. All things tending towards the eternal, or what we imagine of it.”

-Cesare Pavese


I became addicted to travel after my first experience in a new country. Startled by a culture so dissimilar to my own, I was soon enchanted.  Thus began a cycle of shock and discomfit;  the necessity of landing on my feet in an unfamiliar environment forces a keen awareness. To be truly present in the world is a gift- whether that world is sticky with humidity, inundated with all matters of unknown bugs, or filled with beautiful architecture and amazing geographical topography.

I travel with my husband, who is one of the most adaptable men I’ve ever met.  100 degrees with 100% humidity? No problem. 38 below zero? Bring it on, baby. Lost in the woods? Not for long! We’ll follow the moss on the north face of the trees/ wait until dark if necessary to navigate by stars/ or even calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen European swallow to find our way home. He is the ultimate survivalist, and not just in extreme or unknown climates. Politics? Religion? Uncomfortably awkward social situations? He’s a master of the challenge of fitting in almost anywhere, and I think his only major handicap is having a redheaded wife. (Sorry, babe. Thailand? I stuck out like a sore thumb.)  He can speak at least a couple of words in over 27 languages, and he has the ability to connect with most people we meet.

(Basically, I’m really glad he’s my sidekick.)

Together, we are on an adventure. God has given us this world filled with shy smiles on gracious people, vistas that humble, and experiences that test us. I fervently believe it’s our responsibility to experience everything it has to offer.



What is your idea of adventure?


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