This summer, let me rephrase that…this year I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel. With each trip I gained new perspectives and insights. I reflect on each adventure I take, looking for something to take away from the experience. So far, I have been more than successful. Traveling gives you the opportunity to learn so much about yourself and grow through it all.
Instead of writing an individual blog for each trip, I’m combining them into this one post….for now. You might still hear about Thailand later, but this summer has been a whirlwind and I just have not had the time to post.
Lets start there.
Thailand: Sorry if I distracted you with my cool pictures BUT…speaking of time… us Americans have busied ourselves into squeezing SOMETHING into every second of our day. Fast food becoming a staple for couples and families who don’t “have time” to sit down for a meal together. Leading me to my first point. Why I fell in love with the Thai way of life.
In Thailand, time is treasured and they are extremely happy with everything they have, which isn’t much for most. The traffic in Thailand would drive an American nuts. They disregard most traffic rules and turn three lanes into four. Yet no yells, honks or changes facial expressions when someone unexpectedly pulls out in front of them. Fast food in Thailand means a walk down the street for some fresh food cooked right in front of you by a street vendor.
Why can’t we slow down, why can’t we peel away from the glow of Ipads and Iphones? What’s wrong wit eating a home cooked meal around the dinner table? I am guilty…I busied myself, but my mom also made sure that at least half of our dinners were together during the week. If only we stopped to value the little things in life, how things would be changed. Having no cell service in Thailand, unplugged me from it all. I realized how much more connected I could be in a conversation without worrying when I’d get a text back or a like on my Instagram post.
College itself changed the way I looked at everything. Sunsets, trees, bridges. Thailand opened my eyes even more. The smile of the Thai hotel clerk after a long day of hiking, the elephants flapping their ears in pure joy (my personal favorite) and the hours spent in a bus, train or plane was enough to change the way I viewed every aspect of life.
I saw and did things that I never would have imagined from hiking 1,265 steps overlooking miles of rocks (large ones the size of mountains) to spending an hour with the animal I have loved since I was a little girl.
Canada: The typical bucket list says “Leave the country”, well I wanted to not only leave once, but more than once. Little did I know I would do it 3 weeks after being home from Thailand. I got the opportunity from one of my teammates to go to the first U.S. World Cup game in Winnipeg, Canada. 24 hours in a car and worth every second of it. They beat Australia 3-1. Cheering them on at the start of what would end with the World Title was absolutely amazing. Bonus: we got to see Sweden and Nigeria play before the U.S. We met two of the Australian players after the game and ate dinner at a pub downtown with the greatest food. Soccer in the U.S. is something that most people don’t pay attention to and this team changed that (I hope). They didn’t just squeak by with a few wins, getting lucky…they straight DOMINATED. They reignited my passion for the game and I am so blessed to experience soccer that way. I also learned that no matter the loss you might suffer from taking a trip like that, the memories and experiences are well worth the cost.
Colorado: Last year I had the privilege of spending the 4th of July in beautiful Oregon with my amazing family. This year, I got to spend it in the mountains of Colorado with my close friends. Just four girls and the adventures of downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains. We woke up to mountains and went to sleep to the hustling and bustling of downtown Denver. The REAL city that never sleeps. We ate lots of ice cream (try Little Man and Sweet Action…yum) and saw some breathtaking views…along with enduring some minor rain showers. We managed to plan (okay more like luck) to avoid most of the showers on our adventures. Watching fireworks cover the skyline 360 degrees around me was absolutely awesome. We hiked and cliff jumped, a first for two of my friends. We made it out alive, with minor scratches and memories to last a lifetime.
To the more serious stuff. I took away many little life lessons, but the biggest lesson hit me on my two runs through downtown Denver. 6,000 homeless in this huge city. They slept in the tunnels and along the path that we ran on along the river. Reflecting on my own life, why do we complain? “I’m starving, when is lunch?!” Do we really know what it is like to be starving? For the greater chunk of us college students, we don’t. We most likely never will. Being in that place right then and there, I was a college student claiming to be broke, yet my bank account told me differently. They really were BROKE. In more ways than one. I have the privilege of getting an education and to have not one but TWO jobs this summer to help pay for it. I felt an extreme pain in my heart followed by extreme gratefulness. It has happened to me a lot. I have a huge appreciation for the little things and finding the positive in everything. This pretty much confirmed for me that I will not settle for a job where I am not helping people.
My passion for helping others led to racing thoughts of how I could make a difference. My dream is to start my own non-profit someday. I am so thankful for the experiences I have had because they play a big part in making Katie, Katie.
I could go on for hours about the experiences and insights that I gained through travel. Patience is a must and sun screen is highly recommended. Whether you’re going to a third world country or a few states over, I promise the experience will leave you with a lifetime of memories and insights that will lead you down a path that you never imagined yourself going before.
Mini trips include: Kansas City to see NeedToBreathe and Ben Rector & St. Louis to see Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Next Stop: San Diego Fall 2015
Love & Stuff,