It is nearly impossible for me to go to Europe and only visit one country. Besides, why visit one when you can visit three?
This habit has led to me taking not one, but three European road trips in the last year: my European Extravaganza (6 countries in 6 weeks) with my mom and stepdad before moving back to the states, BeNeLux with my mom and a couple friends, and Bulgaria & Romania with my bezzy.
I have yet to share anything about the latter two trips, not to mention my adventures living in the Scottish Highlands in between. I've found it difficult to write anything that didn't either feel like "Hey look at how great my life is!" or "Woe is me! What am I doing with my life?" by the end. And I haven't been able to post anything I've written because honestly neither is a very accurate portrayal of what my life has been like this past year.
It has been a year of feeling completely lost, found, and lost again. And honestly, I'm still a little confused as to which part of this cycle I'm in at present
There have been beautiful moments throughout the year, like working in the temple last spring; having a sibling reunion and visiting where my dad grew up on the 9th anniversary of his passing; watching the hearts and minds of some incredible youth grow and change (and knowing that I played a tiny part in their growth); reading the Book of Mormon to the kids I was looking after and watching them get into it; a heart to heart with my bezzy in a beautiful cathedral; a much needed heart to heart with my dad at his grave; an overwhelmingly joyous reunion with some of the amazing youth I worked with last summer; hilarious FaceTimes with my niece; and most recently, watching my honorary little sister get married to a wonderful man who adores her.
But as everyone experiences from time to time, I've had my share of ugly moments when I've become overwhelmed by discouragement, shame, and despair. These moments typically follow a session of comparing where I am with where I want to or think I should be in my life. Or not uncommonly, having other people point out the differences to me. As if I am unaware of my homeless, jobless, husbandless state. Hint: I'm perfectly aware, thanks.
That said, one of my goals for 2017 has been to focus more on finding joy in the journey rather than the reaching of some yet to be determined destination. And I can honestly say at the end of month 4, this really has made a huge difference in my ability to recognize and receive joy in the variety of experiences I've already had this year.
So over the next few weeks I'm going to try playing catch up on documenting what some of those experiences have been, covering some highlights from the trips I mentioned above as well as my most recent trips to Iraq and Zimbabwe. #yourewelcome