May 1st – Topeka, KS
May 1st – Kansas City, MO
May 1st – Atlanta, GA
May 6th – Los Angeles, CA
May 7th – Crawley, UK
May 8th – London, UK
May 9th – Southampton, UK
May 10th – Rennes, France
May 10th – Saint Aubin D’aubigne, France
July 6th – Rennes, France
August 6th – July Nantes, France
August 6th – Carquefou, France
August 9th – Bordeaux, France
August 9th – Cubzac, France
August 12th – Bayonne, France
August 13th – Hendaye, France
August 13th – San Sebastian, Spain
With two children..
God has tested every fiber of my being in every possible way fathomable. There are soooo many sacrifices I’ve had to make to have and continue this journey and at the end of the day I’m pretty sure this walk of faith will be featured on someone’s talk show, radio show and/or blog site, because there is so much more that can’t be said in this forum about faith and trust in God, about motherhood, about fear, about love, about commitment, about perseverance, about pursuing your dreams to the point that it scares you because you thought you were ready, but had no idea what it all really meant and how much it would take out of you to possess what it is that you desire. Many people who meet me now have no idea what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve overcame, what I’ve possessed, what I’ve sacrificed or who I am on the inside. All they see is the outer shell of whoever they think they’ve met. There are layers upon layers of unraveling and revealing. Sometimes the process is aborted because they think they have me all figured out and sometimes people are amazed and glad that they’ve waited to get to know me instead of assuming who I must be. I’m grateful that I’ve embraced people as they are and dug deeper to find out where their values lie. Travel makes you empty whatever well of stereotypes you find comfort in and grab your water from a new fresher source.
I’ve had to rely and depend on people in a foreign country who absolutely hated me (this will probably saved for talk shows lol), I’ve prayed for people daily who’ve chosen to attack me when I grew silent out of necessity (but it was assumed to be out of malice), I’ve longed to be with a person that I don’t ever know if I’ll see again anytime soon (only time will tell), I’ve let go of past ideas of love and marriage and embraced the idea of surrendering it all to God, I’ve had people serve me who have less than me and I’ve met people who possessed so much light within that it was painful to leave them. The broken English conversations with people who love life are so much more fulfilling than the best of ungrateful scholars. I think I’ve fallen in love with nomad travel… there are certain things you will never give or receive as a tourist.
Everyday my face is not beat, my hair is not cute, my toe nails are not painted, my eyebrows are not on fleek, but I’m so grateful that I serve a God who can allow me to do all of those things eventually after the work is done. This work has been monumental. I remember sitting in Saint Aubin D’aubigne, France in May just wondering how different my life would be come August. Now I’m in August and amazed at everything that I never in a million years thought would have happened. I’m just shocked at how many places we’ve stayed, people we’ve met and lived with, cities we’ve traveled to, countries we’ve visited with such a small amount of money. I feel like God has turned my water into wine. There are people that I long and would love to see in the U.S. but I have absolutely no desire to remain there, to sit there, to give up countless years of my life stagnant and not traveling. I’m convinced that I must continue to move. Even if I take a break, let me assure you, if God allows me to live my dreams, it will only be a break.
I had an interesting conversation with a Ghanian man who is currently one of our hosts in Spain while sitting in his kitchen as he cleaned after he and his brothers cooked fish. He and I are the same age, but the difference in mindset and view is unbelievable. His views on marriage and what he feels is necessary for growth and fulfillment are so different from my own. He thinks I should sit still, get married and settle down because of my two children. He thinks that I’m at the age, where I need a man to be fulfilled and complete and that I should desire to marry. He wanted to know how I’ve been able to travel to all the places I’ve been and maintained a relationship. Truth is, I’ve always sacrificed marriage and relationships for travel.
Fifteen years ago, when I was leaving West Palm Beach, Florida to attend Howard University in Washington, DC, I was briefly seeing a friend who was going to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on a football scholarship. I had just broken up with my former fiance, prior to that relationship, because I knew I wasn’t going to stay and pursue marriage before college. I was leaving everything familiar to attend a school where only one other person I knew was attending. I wanted to travel and see the world and I knew attending Howard would get me there. Fast forward, four years later when I married my son’s father, I made a decision to continue my plan to travel to China and left him 3 days after we were married. I hated every moment of leaving him behind, but in hindsight it was the best thing that I could have ever done (we’ll save that story for the book). Two years later, when I finally was formalizing my divorce, the man who I loved and had been a close friend for 4 years finally admitted that all of our platonic years at Howard, he always desired a relationship from me. I waited so many years to hear him say it and when he finally did, he was helping me pack and move all my things to accept my first position after college with Payless ShoeSource in Topeka, Kansas. I guess he figured that if he told me the truth, it would make me accept the offer I received in Washington, DC and stay. I think we all know that I chose to move to Kansas. The trend continues and the broken-hearted moments have always been infused with my desire to see the world and experience more out of life and not sacrifice my dreams for love. This paradox of choosing the thing you love most over someone you love is definitely childhood related. So as I listen to this young man, tell me that he thinks I should settle down and allow a partnership to be my focus, I realized how different our views of partnerships were. A partnership to me is something that allows you to build on what already exists, not gain something that you don’t have. He was looking at what I lacked and what I could gain through having a man economically. I’m not looking to have a man provide all the things for me that I don’t have or give me stability. The ideal for me would be to have a partner whose dreams are in alignment with mine and our passions are in sync, a synergy of sorts, which would allow a partnership to be help us prosper in every way. A partner whose love ignites my love and we can achieve our dreams together. Not me sacrificing my dreams to gain something from his wealth. I think good men have a natural desire to protect and provide for those that they love. Like keeping something sacred secure, so I understood his viewpoint, but for me I want my dreams protected. I’m mature enough to know that you don’t have to sacrifice certain things forever to have what you want, there can be a compromise and I think God is opening the door for a compromise in the area for love for me. In relation to your professional pursuits and career, traveling early can definitely impact your corporate climb if that is what you wish you to pursue. Me personally, I don’t feel that I should wait until I have achieved some specified title or income to travel. Truthfully, I’ve switched industries, career paths and jobs so much that I truly don’t feel that my career path should correlate with my travel ambitions or pursuits. Some people may disagree and spend numerous years working on credit, corporate climbing, networking and more things that get you ahead versus taking the time to travel while they’re relatively still young and unattached.
The question may be is it worth it? Has travel provided you what it is that you seek? What is it that you’re missing that you gain from seeing the world? Do you regret giving up your homes, furniture, jobs, cars and relationships to pursue your dreams? YES it’s 100% worth it. Travel has enriched my life beyond any monetary cost that it will ever accrue and more. Each experience has unlocked a new door to the keys to life and living. Whatever I lack, God allows me to gain it from meeting new people around the world who are overly compensated in my deficient areas. The sacrifices I’ve made are pruning me for greater things in life. There is a certain level of fearlessness that one must muster up to travel and I know that this new strength I have is going to be used to help others pursue greater things in life. For that I’m grateful.
The people that I love, whose love has made such an indelible impression on my mind, heart and spirit will always live within me. The experiences that I have now, I would have never known if I hadn’t left the familiar for the uncertain. For a person like myself, a woman on the move (pun intended), there is always a pendulum, clicking at the center of what you value and seeing if everything around is balanced. These experiences that I have with my children after 3+ months of traveling through Europe, I don’t ever want to imagine my life without them. I saw God so many times. I saw him lift me and keep me in moments that words can’t even describe. I have imprints on my heart and mind of conversations with those that I love and cherish in places that are now of my past. Conversations with a former love about his dreams while I was in Nantes, France; conversations with my “therapist” while in Rennes, France, conversations with my mother and sister in law while in Saint Aubin D’aubigne, France, conversations with my step-dad in Bordeaux, France; the Tango and iPhone messages with family and besties in Saint Aubin D’aubigne; the convos with my grandpa everywhere that I went and the many conversations with a man who motivates me to love God more while staying in Rennes, France and on my transition south. These cherished moments are what makes travel so amazing, because you can take those you love with you if they let you. The pictures that I’ve captured and the moments with my children that I’ve been able to share with those that are closest are priceless. I’m so grateful that God has allowed me to unlock his love and mercy in this way. My life and my relationship with God has been filled with backsliding, unfaithfulness, ingratitude and bitterness, but God has saved a special place for me regardless. My walk and it’s obscurities is clear for all to see, but what’s more obvious is God’s love and faithfulness to those who love Him. Since my last post, I have created a way for those who wish to support this journey to do so. Would this type of journey be worth it for you and your family? That depends on what you are seeking…