📍 San Pedro Sula, Honduras
A friend here told me about a time that she invited an American traveling in Honduras into her home. She said that when he walked through the front door, he started crying, as he saw the poverty in which she lived. My friend told me that his reaction to the home she took pride in caring for angered her, because "there are many worse things in life than being poor."
Everything is a gift.
Not only the things that bring us joy and satisfaction, not only the people that make us feel loved and worthy and important, not only times of peace and confidence and trust. No, EVERYTHING is a gift.
The last few months in Asia, I would say that God grew me exponentially in my faith. And although my time there was filled with much joy and much peace, there were also moments of extreme distress, of heartache, of sadness, and a few times, namely in the northern part of Myanmar, I was so downright scared by the terrible things I saw that I nearly booked a flight back to the USA for the very next day (I didn’t.)
My heart is so ridiculously happy here in east Java, it doesn’t even feel real… Settling down in one place (not to mention one tiny farm village) for several weeks definitely wasn’t part of my plan when I left for this backpacking adventure in June, but I am so thankful for the way God has guided my path to end up here.
Where do I go next?
That is the question that has been on my mind for the last week or so, unsure of what country to visit after Indonesia. I had originally planned on spending nearly 2 weeks on the island of Bali, but as I heard over and over again that it is a place filled with tourists and partying, I decided that it probably isn’t where I want to spend much of my time.
So, decision-making time. Something I seriously dread. I had 15 different tabs open on my computer – checking flights, hostels, and visa information for Cambodia, East Timor, Bangladesh, Nepal, and a random assortment of other countries… trying to figure out what would be the smartest/cheapest/most enjoyable choice. But no single country had all the pieces lining up.
Yesterday, Chelsea and I hungout with two new Japanese friends. They showed us all around the city of Kyoto, including a visit to a zen garden and traditional tea house. It is here where I began to understand “wabi-sabi,” an important part of Zen and Japanese culture.
When Chelsea and I were in Tokyo, we had too much fun laughing at all of the ridiculous English phrases that Japanese people sport on their clothing, backpacks, pencil pounches…. everywhere! The phrases almost never make sense, but the language itself seems to be a novelty here. It’s “cool” to have something written in English, even if you obviously have no idea what it says. “Eyerashes” (Instead of eyelashes), “Me Boss You Not,” and “The Whispered My Heart” are all phrases we’ve found.
For being the most populated city in the world, I strangely haven’t gotten the “chaotic” vibe from Tokyo that I expected. It is definitely busy, but somehow everything seems to just flow here.
How often do you ask "How are you?" and expect to receive a genuine response? Think about it.
Some European friends pointed out this American cultural norm to me awhile back, and I became aware of its absurdity. I use “How are you?” or a similar variation as a greeting, but without any expectation for initiating a real conversation. In fact, I often ask the question in passing, and am long gone before the person would even have had the opportunity to respond. I realize that every country and culture has its little quirks and uses language differently. But it’s made me reflect about how this idea translates to my relationship with God and other people.
In my experience living out of a backpack for months at a time, packing light and packing smart are two necessary parts of travel preparation. Packing cubes have been a miracle travel tool for me while abroad.
Disclosure: I received compensation for writing this review of Bagail's packing cubes. However, all opinions expressed in this article are strictly my own.
I am proud to be a part of such a free-spirited generation, and anyone who knows me will say that I am far-from-shy about encouraging wanderlust and the passionate pursuit of dreams. Travel is such a valuable experience that opens up our eyes to the beautiful diversity of the world, and I am so thankful for the platform that Pages of My Passport has given me to help others explore the planet. Read on for some inspiration on 6 different adventures that are perfect for you 20-somethin's out there.
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.