Reading an old journal entry is both helpful and terrifying. Helpful because your former self often has very good advice and insights, and terrifying because it's a bit hard to look back at times of inexperience. With that being said, I dug up an old blog post (which to me is like an open journal) from a couple years ago that I never ended up posting and thankfully for yours and my sake, it is more helpful than anything else.
The year was 2014, a fresh faced Abby had just returned from various trips with YWAM. She was 18 and had only just been diagnosed with a touch of wanderlust. So ignore the fact that I am referring to myself in the 3rd person and hopefully see how perfectly wondrous the world is from the eyes of an 18 year old.
The lessons of Exploration
I never thought I’d reach the point in life where I’d actually be “coming home” from someplace – I thought I would be home forever. Then one day out of the blue high school decided to come to an end and I found myself returning home from places like Thailand and Hawaii. It has indeed been an incredible year.
It’s gone by so quickly that I sometimes wonder if it honestly happened. If I really did spend all those hours in a plane flying across the US and the ocean to new and unfamiliar places. Sometimes it feels like it was a blip in time that I formed in my own imagination. Just think about it: imagine coming home to find out that everything is exactly the way you left it – you’d feel like you’d never left at all. The only assurance that I did leave, I find in myself: I have changed. Home stayed the same but I’ve changed– drastically.
I left home a scared somewhat naive individual who hated the thought of giving up personal comfort and loathed the idea of having to leave their safe little corner of the earth. The words “risk” and “adventure” weren’t even in my vocabulary. I was fine with being fine. Going to new places– especially Thailand– changed that for me.
Thailand is so different from my world back home, that the lack in similarities is remarkable. It’s not a dangerous place, it’s just not the normal I'm use to. Living there for 3 months gave me a chance to fall in love with a land and people other than my own. I got the chance to make friends with local Thai girls who’s smiles warm ever single inch of your soul. I also ate more sticky rice and fired basil than humanely possible– It was incredible..
I was in such awe of just how creative God was, and how he made each person and land so different and unique from each other. There were nights spent on a Chiang Rai balcony that I could not fathom just how remarkable Thailand was and how there are so many other beautiful people and places that I have not yet discovered.
Hawaii was equally as eye opening. It was a 6 week blur of sunscreen and laughter. Each day I spent there made me feel more alive than ever before. I fell so in love with the people around me that the stunning scenery was secondary to the physical signs of happiness that surrounded me and my friends. I found deep friendship that summer all while surrounded by the ocean– nothing short of magical.
I learned so much in those months traveling that I will never get over the fact that before I left in September, I was fine, absolutely 100% fine, with just getting to know one part of this breathtaking earth God created. A truly tragic mindset, because If God spent so much thought and care into creating this earth and it's people then it is by far one of the greatest privileges to get to explore them.
So promise me you will explore. Promise me even if you can't get on a plane that you will take time to explore your city, because there is such an awe and wonder to God's creation and we have it right at our finger tips– you just have to grab it.