travel confessions from a pilgrim.

travel

the other day (ok. the other week.) laura over at german-american abroad, surprised me & tagged me to do a post revealing my most secret travel confessions. i’m sure she thinks that i’ve completely forgotten about this little challenge. but i haven’t! i’d never forget something that encouraged me to talk about one of my favorite things in life. thanks, laura, for choosing me! so, here come my deepest, darkest, inner thoughts about the joy of travel.

oh yeah. first the rules, of course.

  • Post a photo (or photos) and description(s) of your confession(s) in a new post.
  • Tweet your post with hashtag #TravelConfession and follow/tweet @Traveling9to5
  • Tag 3-5 other travelers you’d love to see confess and tag them on Twitter.

1. go local.

our friends’ home in dublin.

the best kind of travel is the kind that allows you to stay for free. agreed? whenever i meet people, i actually think to myself, “if we become friends perhaps i can travel to his/her country/city and stay with him/her for free while i explore a new place. is it wrong that i think like that? i loooove visiting friends, and i love having friends come & visit me. too bad i’ve lived in sweden for almost 2 & a half years and only 1 person has taken advantage of the free lodging i have to offer to anyone wanting to visit sweden. perhaps i should try couch-surfing… so i can travel and so i can offer my home to others. have you done couch-surfing? how was your experience? right now, my love & i are in the process of planning a trip to peking, hong kong, & macau. why there? because it’s freaking cool & (here it comes) because we have a friend living there for a year. see how that works out?!

2. pubs are the shit.

i prefer to find out what a city/country is really like. i like to hang with the locals. that means avoiding big shopping areas (though i do frequent those too. a healthy balance of travel experiences is a good thing, right?), and focusing on pubs, little hole-in-the-wall cafes, boutiques, and bars. then i can try local beer, see local styles, get a feel for local ideas/beliefs, and hopefully hear a little local music. it could be a little scanky or scary, but totally worth the stories i get to tell later.

3. speaking of scary…

the wrong side of the tracks in memphis tennessee.

i will always, always, always end up in the most unsafe area of a city/place. it’s like i have some sort of radar or something. i don’t mean to end up in these places. it just happens. and, yes, i am usually frightened for my life for at least one brief second. my wife, of course, has just accepted that these “little adventures” are part of traveling with me.

4. on the road again.

somewhere out west where the road never ends.

my favorite mode of transportation is by car. i freaking love to drive. capital l.o.v.e. the open road, snacks in the car, music blasting, singing along, tapping the steering wheel, left leg up, windows down, sunglasses on, and no real idea where i’m gonna end up. that’s the perfect road trip.

5. it could take more hours than it should.

this is a genetic defect i’ve inherited from my dad. at any given moment, i could see something – like a barn, or an animal, or a pretty tree, or something weird or amazing, and stop the car. yep. i will pull over in order to get THE picture.  if you travel with me, you WILL have to wait for me at some point. just sayin’.

6. i’m all about inclusive.

i could get used to this. a pool & the mediterranean sea. all day. every day.

i admit it. after traveling to rhodes, greece, last year for a week at an inclusive resort, i fell in love. to be honest, i was very skeptical. i usually travel in order to experience  a culture: people, food, anything different from the life that i know. that’s the point of travel for me… to expand my horizons and touch my soul. staying at an inclusive resort, laying by a pool, being served by scandinavian people (not greeks!) in greece all seemed wrong to me. but, i loved it. i’m ashamed to say it, but i loved the luxury. the doing nothingness that everyday consisted of… well, we did see rhodes old town one day & toured an acropolis another day, so we got a little culture. bottom line: i want to go on one of these kind of resort, all-inclusive trips for one week out of every year. one word: heaven.

7. location. location. location.

camping on the hottest night in the summer of 2010. oklahoma, usa.
found a great hotel right in the middle of times square. crazy.

out in the wild or smack in the middle of everything. i’m a little bipolar when it comes to travel. i love to be in the middle of the woods, camping & roughing it. i have never camped in anything but a tent. no rv’s or campers for me (as of yet). on the other hand, i love to be right smack in the middle of manhattan, or any other big, global city. i’d rather pay nothing & sleep in the woods, or pay extra & stay right in the middle of everything. see what i mean? i’m all over the place.

8. nerd alert.

the temple of isis on delos (greece).

i love history. thanks, mom & dad. i love to find out the why’s, who’s, and what’s of an area. museums are great, filled with history & art. a perfect combo. and historical ruins and other places. does it get any better than that? i’m a sucker for anything that sheds a little light on what it means to be part of the human race, how we got where we are, how the past has influenced us today, and any stories & experiences of people who have made a difference. history inspires me & gives me this feeling of connection to all people, through all times.

9. light a candle.

i want to travel the world. i want to see everything. i want to experience everything. i want to meet all different kinds of people. but, there is one thing that i, as a student of theology and a lover of spirituality, am really drawn to… holy places. churches, mosques, synagogues, cathedrals, memorials, secular places, pilgrimage places, abbeys, monasteries, convents, outdoor places – including all of nature. the holiest places on earth are both human-made buildings and naturally created places on earth. when i travel, i have to go there. everywhere. anywhere. i must light a candle in a cathedral, or dip my toes into the ocean, or stand in awe of a forest. these places all ground me. i feel something there. something powerful. something beyond me & yet a part of me at the same time. these are the most important places to visit. most of the time i have no idea they are holy places until i stand there & breathe in everything around me. and then, i just know. i just feel it.

traveling is like breathing. i need it to survive. i am not ashamed of my wanderlust. i embrace it, and as soon as i return from one trip, be it across the world, or just to the next city, i begin preparing for my next adventure. i believe that travel has a direct connection to peace. when we travel & experience something new, when we are willing to get out of comfort zones & meet new people, see new places, taste new foods, cross boarders, and explore new cultures, we open ourselves up. we add new memories and make room in our lives, our hearts, and our minds for new thoughts, new opinions, and new friendships. to travel is to educate. and to educate is to promote acceptance, respect, and peace.

so, my dear friends, get out there and travel! do something new. go somewhere new. be bold. set sail. wander around. soak it all in. and live life!

now, my love at lier.se, ashley paige at for the love of wanderlust, and dace at the long way home… go! give us all your travel confessions. i’m dying to know!

thanks for the little challenge & tag, laura! it’s been fun!

peace in all your travels.

where i stood.

day 1: where i stood

today was my day off. (liz does a happy dance). and guess what i did today? i stood in the kitchen various times throughout the day, in my pj’s (yes all day) and slippers, and made multiple cups of coffee. that’s right. why so much coffee, you ask? well, mostly because it’s cozy & i like the taste of it. but, also because it sat beside my computer on my desk as i typed & planned away practically all day. yes, i was lazy, yet productive, at the same time…

i worked on lots of little writing projects i am beginning now. and it was so much fun. i have most definitely decided that i’m gonna use my mondays for my writing and photography. i like to think of it as my inspiration/creative day. so, it’s all set. i have set a goal, disciplined myself, and now it’s all about the follow through. so far, so good.

the theme for the photo challenge today was “where i stood”. i’ve been thinking about that all day, and realizing all of the places i have stood. i have met so many people. had so many experiences. stood in so many places that lead me to where i am today. i feel crazy blessed to have walked in so many different places…

as a minister in a church in canton, north carolina.
with my dad on the top of a mountain.
in a park in the middle of brooklyn, new york (where i was working with teenagers).
i walked, stood, & sat in the middle of ancient corinth, greece. overwhelming.
in the florida keys for my brother’s wedding.
in the atlantic ocean.
12 days later… at the pacific ocean.
in a gospel choir in denmark.
at the grand canyon with my love

 you know, you don’t have to travel all over the world in order to experience holy, sacred, amazing ground. no. i believe that all ground is sacred. all places have something to offer us. i suppose it’s up to us to slow down a little and soak it all in. the bus stop, the grocery store, the gas station, the hospital, our homes & schools. wherever we stand, is one more experience, one more opportunity, one more place of beauty in our lives. and wherever we stand right now, is the place preparing us for the journey & the steps that lie ahead.

so, where are the places that you have stood in your life? where have you been? what have you seen? what have you experienced? where are you standing now in your life? and where are you going?

well, wherever you are right now, i wish you peace.

summer solstice!

 palm trees in greece. last october we spent a week on the island of rhodes.

happy first day of summer, people! i realize that the solstice was technically yesterday, but i’m celebrating on the day between the actual longest day of the year (yesterday) and the swedish celebration of midsummer (tomorrow). ahhh.. the season is finally here. and while i have no plans of heading home to north carolina during the summer (our hearts are breaking), i fully intend to soak up the sun, the light, and the warmth when & wherever i can find it!

i am looking forward to a summer in europe. geez. how bad does that sound? i can’t complain, huh? on the horizon are a couple of trips: stockholm for some days (you have no idea how amazing stockholm is on a sunny summer’s day. or maybe you do!). ireland for an amazing wedding. a week at a camp in the swedish archipelago (that’s work. but, once again, i get paid to be at camp. ain’t bad, right?). and perhaps a few days in lübeck, germany (we’re saving a trip to visit a friend in berlin for the fall). all in all, squeezing in a few trips here & there sounds fantastic. just what i need to help keep my mind off of missing my family in the states. it’s all about living life exactly where you are anyway, isn’t it? because there’s always something beautiful, something to learn, something to soak up.

as for today, i plan on spending as much of it outside as i can. sweden has given us a beautifully sunny & warm day! first, a little lunch at home. then, some shopping at an outdoor veggie market – fresh strawberries on tap for midsummer’s celebrations tomorrow, and finally some relaxing time with my amazing, mesmerizing wife. oh yeah. gotta do a little work when i get home tonight… more midsummer preparations. yes, i am working on midsummer. but, it’s a joy to get to do what i do. i’m giving a short, inspirational talk at the celebration. think, blog post, only out loud and in public. gonna be great, i hope. wish me luck preparing something inspirational! not that i’m without inspiration… with it now being summer & gorgeous outside.

ok. time to stop typing & get busy soaking up the summer sun.

happy summer solstice, my dear readers! sending you sunshine & peace.