Ten years ago today we started a walk that took us around the world in 225 days.
Sometimes it seems like yesterday. Other times like someone else’s life.
But as the sweet naïve babies that we were (look at that natural hair color, I mean come on!), we hiked up our backpacks and set off. We had one-way tickets and dreams that were much bigger than our plans. We wanted to see the world. And it was before the days you wanted the world to see you back. We were anonymous. Our cell phones didn’t work where we were headed, we took pictures on actual cameras, and WiFi was still relegated to Internet Café’s. Blogs and Facebook were barely a thing, and Instagram/Twitter/SnapChat weren’t even a sparkle in Social Media’s eye. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It was.
I remember surrendering my phone to a friend as she dropped us off at LAX and snapped this picture. I remember thinking I felt a little lost without it as we wandered into the airport and I knew I’d be without that lifeline for the next eight months. And it was a flip phone.
So, my hair color isn’t the only thing that’s changed in the last ten years.
And I decided that in honor of this ten-year-mark, I’ll be recounting our steps, wandering back down the cobbled streets of Istanbul and Jerusalem and re-climbing Table Mountain and the Great Wall and remembering the sights and sounds and, yes, even the smells of that walk. Because I need to remember that dreams can be bigger than plans.
So I invite you to join me over the next 225 days – I’ll post some old photos, some old blog posts from the trip, and every now and then some current perspective. Some of the what-I-know-now stuff that I would tell my sweet 27 year old self. Though Lawd, I don’t think I’d tell her everything. I wonder, sometimes, if she would have wanted to know that ten years after strapping on that backpack, she’d know the loneliness of an empty womb, and the rythym of a heart monitor. Or that she’d see life restored in both of those places. That she’d be living a miracle. Or that she’d be living in a terrifying SNL skit about the 2016 Presidential Ballot.
I think she would have curled up into a fetal position. I know that’s how she felt about just reading up on Dengue Fever and the other diseases they were told they might encounter in their travels. Which they did. Fears came true. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Because today, today is about those dreams. Those sweet doe-eyes of ours that dared to dream of a year spent walking around the world. And then did it. You guys, it was so fun. And so hard. And so great. And so tough. And so something I’d like to talk myself into again. It could happen.
Our plans were about as simple as they come. We sold our stuff. Filled our backpacks. Bought a few one-way plane tickets to places where we knew some faces. We didn’t even have all the places mapped out. We just knew our first few stops. We bought our plane tickets in stages, once we knew when and where we were headed. Yeah, I wanna do that again. For reals, though. Who wants us to come visit?
From the very first inkling of the idea, we knew we wanted the trip to be about people, and a puzzle started taking shape that involved missionaries and teachers and ex-pats and locals and different faiths and very different foods and, well, maybe one of the most beautifully relational years of our lives.
And today, this week, this year, I just need to remember that dreams CAN be bigger than plans. That plans are good and right and responsible things, but they are also inherently smaller than what we can dream. Because a plan is something you can figure out. A dream is usually something you can’t.
So I invite you to join me. In re-living one dream and exploring others. In asking yourself what dreams are bigger than your plans? And if you don’t have any, to open your heart to something that’s bigger than what you can figure out. Because maybe, just maybe, I’m not the only one who needs that reminder today.
Because the plans were oh so small. But it was the dream that took us around the world.