Go everywhere. Talk to everyone. Eat everything. I saw this phrase on a cute little bag at work the other day and it stopped me right in my tracks.
“This is exactly me!”
As true as that is now, it hasn’t always been true about me. I grew up in small town New Hampshire where my dream was to get married after high school and live on a farm. That was about it and I am well aware that my dream was very limited. My name is Celia, I’m 25-year-old enneagram 7 that could spend the rest of her days exploring a foreign land. I wanna share a little about how I fell in love with traveling the world and hopefully inspire a few of you to plan your next trip, encourage you to do something different than you normally would, or even get you out of the country for the first time ever.
My love story first started with a couple school trips within New England and then Philly and DC in the 8th grade. For our senior trip, we even got to cross borders and explore Montreal. Other than that, my travel was limited to visiting family on Cape Cod, vacationing in Maine, and the occasional trip to Florida. My point is, I NEVER cared much for travel. I loved everything about my small town and didn’t want to go everywhere!
After a life altering car accident (that’s a whole other story), something inside of me changed. I had finally recovered well enough to leave the house and attend an obligated church service. That Sunday morning, there was a woman sharing about her recent trip to Rwanda. After hearing some pretty incredible stories, I was enthralled with the idea of going to Africa. I had barely left the country at that point. I hadn’t had any sort of inkling to want to leave either, until that moment. 18-year-old me was convinced I would go on the next available trip. It was only a few months away, so why not?! Long-ish story short, I went!
The trip was with a Christian organization and those 10 days impacted the rest of my life. That trip put a burning desire in me to do two things:
1. Travel more! There is SO much more out there than little ol’ Rindge, NH.
2. Tell people about Jesus! There is a reality of God that I never realized until that trip.
The trip transformed me. That was only the beginning to a lifetime of adventures and diving deep into knowing Jesus more. When you travel, you are expanding your worldview which is so important and extremely valuable. My perception of the world was limited to what I had experienced growing up in New Hampshire. It wasn’t until I went on that first trip to Africa that I realized people lived differently from how I grew up.
You’ll see things like the entire country shutting down the roads and businesses just to clean up trash from their land and to take care of their country. Or entire populations of people fasting day in and day out while they spend their nights feasting, and maybe you’ll even get to crash a wedding that they spend an entire WEEK celebrating with different events. But you’ll also learn about things like children being sold into sex slavery by their own parents, young boys being dressed up like girls to serve as prostitutes (lady boys), and the tragedy of children dying from unclean water.
Talk to Everyone
Traveling with a purpose is really important to me. I find so much rest in doing the things I love and I LOVE traveling! If I compared my solo travels or leisure specific travels with my “on a mission” travels, the “on a mission” travels bring so much more LIFE and joy. I can’t quite describe it.
Whether I am traveling with a team of people, a few friends or if I’m flyin’ solo and just hangin’ out, that little phrase is a phrase to travel by.
“Go everywhere. Talk to everyone. Eat everything.”
***Be SMART about it all, of course!*** With human trafficking being so prevalent no matter where you travel, always have a safe plan and never be unconscious of your surroundings. But DO explore, be smart and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Share your faith and learn about others along the way. You’ll be enlightened and even if it’s hard at times (which it will be), you’ll grow in that.
Dare to try the food that the locals eat, even if that means sharing fermented horse milk around a Mongolian’s family dinner table, or eating some very questionable – looking soup. I promise, it’ll make for a great story later on.
This will be the first year in eight years that I will not be leaving the country (at least I’m not planning on it so far) and it breaks my heart a little. I have a very large list of places I’d love to see, people I want to meet, and food I’d be curious to try, but it looks like it’ll have to be put on hold for now.
Until then, tell us:
Where was your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
What is the weirdest thing you ate while traveling?
Do you have any friends you keep in touch with that you met while traveling?
Don’t forget, go everywhere, talk to everyone and eat everything!