A few months ago in Australia, I got a new tattoo on my wrist of a turtle. Those of you who know me well, know that I’ve been just a little in love with turtles for a long time :) But aside from my admiration for the cute, peaceful animal, my tattoo does have a bit more meaning for me. Living inside of the shell on their back, I like that turtles carry their homes with them wherever they go.
As a traveler, this has a special meaning for me. I have been very fortunate to be able to learn from other cultures and people from other parts of the world. I have gained new perspectives on life and the world because of it. I hope to always have an open mind, to be humble, and ready to learn from others, but at the same time, I never want to forget about where I come from, “my home.”
For me, “home” has a few different meanings - first and foremost, my home is in heaven with Christ, and this should actively affect the way that I perceive the world around me. After this, I think of two more “homes” - my family and our little town in Washington State where I grew up, and the orphanage where I spent 3 years of my life in Honduras. Both my parents and the people in Honduras have instilled values in me, have taught me important lessons and showed me things that I want to forever carry with me, wherever my wandering feet may go.
Recently I was in Siracusa, Sicily with my Italian family for a long weekend. We were visiting my host dad’s extended family there, and we also got to do quite a bit of exploring around the historical city. (See more from Sicily here). However, my camera randomly stopped working on the second day, and I got so frustrated. I felt like I’ve just had “bad luck” lately with breaking things - aside from my camera, my hair straightener and sunglasses also broke, all within 3 days. It’s funny how easy it is to get caught up in material things, but as a sinner, it is my natural instinct.
I have taken so many photos over the last year while traveling around 16 different countries. I think there’s something special about photographs; it’s like a way to freeze time and hold onto a moment that you wish could’ve lasted forever. I’ve had so many of those moments over the last year - moments of laughter while joking with treasured friends in hostels, moments of tranquility while watching the sunset atop a grassy hill on a secluded beach, moments of awe and wonder while laying on the ground and taking in the beauty of the milky way blanketed across a dark sky, moments of bliss and a sense of accomplishment upon finally reaching the peak of a mountain, moments of amazement while standing in the Sistine Chapel and contemplating how much work Michelangelo did to complete it.
But the thing is, those moments never do last forever, no matter how badly I wish they would. And whether I take photos in an attempt to hold onto those moments or not, they pass, and leave me with only memories.
I’m still frustrated about my camera, but even in small things, I do believe that God is always purposeful. So I lost a camera, ok, I’ll survive. I think about my home in Honduras, and how few material things the people there “need” to live - so much different than what I consider “needs” most of the time. But I learned in Honduras that things of this world, and even life on earth, is only temporary. The kids there showed me that God alone is eternal. ...And I don't need a photo to remember that, no, the memories of those kids will stay in my mind and heart forever. So I think back, and maybe my camera broke as a little reminder, to not forget about where I come from.
"As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:18
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.