Today I embarked on a two-week journey that has the power to change my life.
Not because I haven’t traveled before. My itinerary goes Cincinnati to Chicago, to Seattle down to Portland, to Austin and then finally to my new hometown, Charlottesville, Va. Except for Portland and Austin, these are all places I’ve been before. But this trip is different.
It’s not because I just quit my job, sold my car, and suddenly find myself closer to the category of “Gypsy” than I thought I would ever be in my life. It’s not because of the friends I’m seeing or the raw shellfish I’m going to eat or the museums I’m going to tour. This trip is different because for the first time I’m looking for something more than the adventure high that I get when I travel.
Going to new cities, making friends in hostels, navigating subways and discovering local eats are all great things. Touring solo is absolutely exciting. But after a while, doing it alone wears on you.
I don’t think it’s just traveling though. I think for all of us, it’s life. There comes a point where the act of doing something alone isn’t enough—we realize our experiences are incomplete unless we have someone to share it with. That’s how we were designed from the beginning—to be in community with God and community with people.
At this point I could totally turn this blog post into a desperate plea for a boyfriend. I’m 23 and finding myself increasingly in the minority as a single person in the midst of friends having weddings, going on dates and planning baby showers. However, over the past year and a half I’ve gotten to know someone who’s way better than any boyfriend or hubby could ever be (no offense to the future Mr. Right!):
Jesus–and He is with me.
As I walked the streets of Cincinnati today, snapping photos and trying to dodge sketchy blocks, He stopped me in my tracks and simply said to my heart, “I am with you.”
He is with me. See, it is never his presence that waxes and wanes—only our awareness of it.
He is with me when I’m riding busses. He is with me in new cities. He’s with me if I get stranded at an airport or discover a new coffee shop (like the one I’m writing in now!). He is taking in the sights with me and taken with the sight of me. He is watching me. He is protecting me. He has me in the palm of His hand.
The reason this trip can change my life is that it’s the first time that I’ve actively wanted to live in the awareness of that “withness” while traveling. I don’t want to just have an awesome adventure; I want to share this awesome adventure with the One who loved and rescued and now shepherds my soul. I want to invite Jesus into every moment, to love and guide me, just like I asked Him to do just that the day I gave Him my life.
I want to do this trip with somebody. I want to do it with Jesus.
Stay tuned to see how it goes!
P.S. – The photo was snapped by yours truly at Coffee Emporium in Cincinnati. Check them out if you’re in town! Follow my journey on Instagram or check back later to see some cool photos up on the blog!