Happy Monday! I am frantically pulling all of my bits and pieces together before I board a plane for Budapest this afternoon! Woo hoo!! I’m ridiculously excited to be traveling and photographing for Go Ahead Tours and will find myself in Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, and Prague over the next 11 days!
I don’t have the words to articulate all that I’m feeling. While I know that there are lots of people who have traveled extensively and don’t find it particularly glamorous, I’m actually quite new to the world of international travel and I am absolutely giddy with anticipation! I was fortunate enough to have spent my late teens and early twenties perfecting the great American roadtrip. I’ve peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon and stood in the shadow of the Giant Sequoias. I’ve been to every national park in the continental United States and feel more than a little blessed to have experienced so much of the dynamic and varied terrain that the United States has to offer. But I never went where I couldn’t get via car and other than dipping across the borders of Mexico and Canada, never left this country during that time.
I took my very first trip overseas in 2004. After months of chemotherapy and one hell of a year, Justin and I took advantage of a travel deal we’d found online and made our escape. We packed up our backpacks and headed to France and Switzerland with pennies in our pockets and no real plan. We had a ball eating baguettes and cheese and sleeping on the floor of friends’ (and friends of friends!) apartments and I was in awe to stand in places like Omaha Beach or look out over Lake Geneva and feel the history down to my toes.
My Mom and I made the trip to Scotland for her 60th birthday and I was struck anew by this desire to see more, experience more. I relished every small difference and even loved our layover at Charles de Gaulle simply because I could listen to the announcements spoken in French.
Last year I experienced travel to a developing country for the first time. First to El Salvador and then to Haiti, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt intimidated and nervous and so very unsophisticated American. I didn’t know if I’d like it. And I suppose you could say that I didn’t…I absolutely LOVED it. They were very different places and circumstances and my experiences were very different in each country, but at the center of it, I felt expanded in ways I couldn’t have fathomed. The languages and clothing and transportation felt so different from my day-to-day life, but the smiles and children and utter human-ness of daily life was the same. I was thrilled to be able to travel back to El Salvador a few weeks ago and see some of those same smiles again!
I’d always had a vague notion of wanting to travel, but it felt too big, too expensive, too glamorous, too impossible. With each new travel experience I have, I realize that it’s quickly becoming not only possible, but non-negotiable. I would rather travel than own designer jeans. I would rather travel than have a big house. I would rather travel than have any number of possessions. I never imagined when I picked up a camera for the first time that it would lead to me beginning to see the world, that it would provide me with the tool to engage with people whose languages I don’t speak (yet!) and whose home is far from mine. With each new opportunity to try street food that I’ve never heard of or buy art from someone who painted on a canvas created from torn clothing, I feel my world and my soul expand. I feel the human-ness of myself and others and my connection to all people everywhere take root in a more substantial way than ever before.
I want to go everywhere and I want to see everything. And I’m SO excited to take a step in that direction today.
I am anticipating that I will have regular internet access and plan to update you guys via social media as well as share a few great blog posts that I’ve been saving (I have a couple of engagement sessions that you are going to love!). I would ask a bit of patience if my email response is slower than usual over the next couple of weeks and I promise to respond just as soon as I can!