Archives for posts with tag: Travel

I was in the middle of a palace garden, sipping a latte with brown sugar, waiting for the girls to come back from the washroom … again. Everything felt like magic – something I was feeling with every breath since arriving in Istanbul.

It was sometime after the sluggish remains of jet leg crawled off my skin, but much before the peaceful protests would turn to tear gas and water bombs, and even longer before I’d sit beside crowds of formerly trafficked sex slaves breaking bread with me.

I looked at that latte, looked at the gold-framed gates leading to The Bosphorus and multi-million dollar mansions lining the strait, looked back at the latte again. Magic.

It was the spring of 2013, and I was on a trip I begged Cindy to let me join. “So, what does a girl have to do to be invited on this trip?” I began. It honestly wasn’t long before I was saving up for a trip my boss wasn’t too keen about me leaving for.

“Sex slaves? Prisons for young criminals? Eastern Europe? Three weeks without you here?” He had become more like a father than employer during my time in that office. He wasn’t entirely thrilled. “Email me, please. Email me often.”

It was a simple trip: go to Eastern Europe, adjust to the time change in Istanbul, travel through Moldova to meet formerly trafficked girls and give warm bread to kids in gypsy villages. Hang out in an orphanage, a boys prison in Lviv, and then, go home.

I had been so caught up in myself.

I was too caught up in myself, and to be certain, I was exhausted of it. When the opportunity came to get outside of my own head, I bolted. I begged. I received, and it was magic.

I thought about this event much like all of my favourite moments. It came out of nowhere while I was closing up the expensive purse store, lining up clothes in perfect order and thinking too much of myself. I’ve been exhausted of being inside my own head, again. Always. And this image of me in loose green pants and a white tee enveloped my senses. Brown sugar, espresso, Bosphorus. There wasn’t room for freaking out about my degree, a job, a love or even eating right.

I’m reminded all of the time about these moments because my head knows I need it. I need to be reminded that even when the world is about it birth something big, I don’t need to repeat the possibilities in my head.

I think we all do that; we consider all of the possibilities until we drive ourselves mad and incapable of simply being available to a moment. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, a big decision, or even a personal health goal. I’m convinced more than ever that overthinking is a disease.

See when I went to Turkey, Moldova and Ukraine, I was told over and over about the possible dangers lurking around every single corner. I was told about kidnapping and war and violence. But I didn’t give myself to it. I accepted that I didn’t know what would unfold, and experienced something so beautiful I think it might actually have been magic.

I wonder sometimes if I need to do that in my everyday life? You too?

I wonder if I need to set aside all of those things I couldn’t control in my mind or my life, sit down with a cup of joe and simply feel the magic instead.

You know, we left Istanbul for Chisinâu just a few short days after we arrived. I met up with the girls the next morning after a typically awful sleep. Cindy handed me her iPad with a news story staring back at me. “Did you hear what happened yesterday?” She said. Of course I hadn’t, but it turns out we left the day Istanbul was breaking their peaceful protests for unrest.

“Wow,” I said shocked, tired, feeling a little guilty. Cindy mentioned her gratitude and guilt too, as if perhaps we should have been there or been able to get everyone out of there if we were going to leave.

See I knew there were protests. I knew this beautiful city was fighting for something incredible to happen for their children’s future. I knew it. And when I left, I didn’t wish for things to have been perfect, I just wished I knew how to connect my fortune with their struggle.

There will be so much unrest. Jobs, family, relationships, pressures. There will be fortune for you and terrible struggle for others. There will be deep regret and wild hope. There will be so much we cannot know until perhaps it feels to late.

But I promise you, if you stop all that overthinking, even just for a moment, there will be magic too.

The Red Center, AustraliaAfter so long in the desert, a girl could learn how to survive alright in red dirt and starry skies. Key word here? Alright. I could survive alright. Read the rest of this entry »

Outback. Way outback.Here’s the thing. I used to speak English perfectly as it is, after all, my native language. That was before I lived short term in an Australian Hostel. Read the rest of this entry »

“Oh, you’re going to miss us when we’re gone,” they said without a single doubt and with every tooth showing in picture perfect grins. These boys had called it far before we would have to say goodbye, and with no surprise, they were right.

Team Israel jumped on the tour bus to Kakadu as tired as I, but much more chipper. “Good Morning,” they said kindly to the strangers they’d captivate the coming days. We kept quiet while the sun rose blood orange across a foggy plain; like a moment of silence to honor the mad adventure on its way. I asked how I would greet them in Hebrew and they said ‘Shalom’. “It’s like a hello or a goodbye” they say. “And it means peace, right?” I ask. They nod to agree and I like that. A greeting; a hello, a goodbye, and peace. And then we began to chat, small and quiet until they had me laughing like solitary bursts of pure joy, and they were right.

The one started talking about his journey, having finished his time in the army and coming here to Australia afterward. The other putting in his ear buds while I probed the first about that army. He told me about the regulations for joining the army, the honor it was to serve and protect his country, and how it is so easily misunderstood by those who have not had to take the same path; easily misunderstood and far too easy to throw their own opinions at. “I haven’t even felt it firsthand, but could you imagine waking your babies in the middle of the night and running for safety because alarms are going off or because you hear noises like bombs nearby? We have to stand up for peace.”

“I haven’t even felt it myself,” he said while choosing to try understand the predicaments of strangers. I hadn’t experienced war either, but I was taken. I was captivated. I watched these two for the next few days and seen more joy for life than I’d felt in forever. They’d play a little guitar they were just learning through strangers along the way, and they’d make us whistle along. They were the first to jump into pools under rushing waterfalls, first to call the next drinking game, first to smile, to hug, to laugh.

They’d tell us the most useless information like it were helpful to the whole wide world like, “When you get to the front of the line you ask for three ketchup, two mayo. It’s the perfect combo, and when you say it like its normal, they won’t charge you extra.” We laughed around the table under the rain and practised our face and tone while repeating the line. I can’t tell you how often they’d turn to me and say with both hands stretch toward me, “Relax, relax.” I needed that, even while laughing, we need that. It was so simple. Life was so simple for them, and for everyone else when they were around. It was joy and it spread itself thick for everyone to have.

See we all come from somewhere. We come from places we’re proud of, situations we regret, and sometimes even, places others have plenty of opinion about – even without having experienced it themselves. But we’ve still got the choice to continue from there and journey on, say hello to some strangers, and learn to laugh together under the same sun. Learn to find and know the sort of joy that seeps. The kind of joy that moves others into joy. The kind of living that moves others into life in such a simple way it stings them deeply; they were right. I would miss them when they were gone. Shalom boys!

IMG_4587The moment we pulled up to the hostel, a run over juniors version of the Playboy Mansion, I immediately regret my spontaneous decision to venture here. Flying over the city of Darwin, I was filled with adventuring thoughts about wrestling crocs with my Dundee hat on, pulling out their teeth and making necklaces with them for my best girls, or, filling my feet with bright red dirt while we search through scorching sun for any sight of water. I thought for certain I could even see the monstrous crocs from the flying skies- the ones I’d wrestle sooner then later. I grit my teeth and pressed my lips at the thought…

Not so my friends, not so. Read the rest of this entry »

There are too many headlines to keep track of and yet I can guarantee you’ve read very little anyhow. Read the rest of this entry »

I have written and deleted too many posts to count since arriving in Australia.

At home it is easy for me to write. I am used to a schedule, a community, and a specific sort of surroundings. Here in Australia though, I am not. Here, I am searching and coming up surrounded by nothing but the unknown. Read the rest of this entry »