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.)
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.
In honor of Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I'd share a few countries that I've been crushing on lately. Of course, my travel bucket-list is never-ending, but these three destinations have especially stuck out to me in the last few months: Iceland, Cuba, and Japan. Read on to find out why I think these countries are so special.
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I can't help but be a hiking enthusiast myself. I'm thankful to be from an area with so many great trails, such as those at Mount Baker, but I also love finding new treks while abroad. Some of my personal favorites have been Roy's Peak in New Zealand, Cruz Loma in Ecuador, and The Dolomite Mountains in Italy. I have collaborated with several other travel bloggers to create a list of 14 awesome trails around the world that you will definitely want to add to your hiking bucket-list.
It's easy to get caught in the typical tourist routes while traveling, and although I love cities like Paris and Rome, I have also found it valuable to connect with fellow travelers and get ideas for new places that might have otherwise not caught my eye. Today's post is a collaboration that I've done with several other travel bloggers, who have shared with me some of their favorite "Off-the-Beaten-Path" destinations. With their help, I have put together a list of 13 unique places to visit in 2017. How many of these places have you been to?
The Phi Phi Islands are an island group in Thailand, between Phuket and Krabi. Koh Phi Phi Don is a slice of paradise with beautiful mangroves and limestone cliffs. Famous from the movie, "The Beach," starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Phi Phi offers a great mix of mellow resort vibes with a fun party atmosphere.
Indonesia is a destination that every person needs to visit at least once during their lifetime. With a total population reaching nearly 250 Million, Indonesia is known for the diversity of its people, nature, islands, culture, and language. In 2015, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in this wonderful country for six amazing months, and today I would like to share six of my most memorable highlights along with some of my favorite photos.
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.