The world is bigger than we could possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. I am inspired by each of your stories, just waiting to be told. My husband and I recently celebrated our five year anniversary by taking a trip to Freeport, Bahamas. We saved up money for a long weekend getaway and came across a deal we couldn’t refuse. The Bahamas offer an international experience that is less than three hours away from my location. A new culture, tropical surroundings, and an all-inclusive resort awaited. We said good-bye to our two children with both anxiety and excitement, and we were off.Two of the most important things I pack for vacations are my computer and journal. As a writer, recording words is important to me. My computer, cell phone, and countless journals provide a soft place for the words swirling around in my head to land and feel at home. Despite my need to record words, I left home without these two items, and it was difficult! I catch myself with my nose in the blank pages more times than not. They safely hold my secrets, thoughts, and experiences. When I open up one of my journals aligning the shelves in my garage, they immediately take me back to the sights, sounds, and feelings of times past.But although the pages of a journal and pen in hand are familiar to me, my thoughts are not. Give me a subject and I will think long and hard to come up with the words to fit the topic just right. But give me space and silence, and I run. I don’t like thoughts when they are left alone and are not fenced in because there is no telling where they will run.
Before leaving for vacation, I realized it was important to navigate places that I don’t let myself go with pen and paper. So on my trip to the Bahamas, I intentionally made the effort to spend time relishing in the silence. I sat in it, listened to it, and became less afraid.My thoughts trickled in slowly, not all at once, but soon they all came—interrupting one another and fighting for my attention. With my thoughts and the waves crashing in the background, I made new discoveries.I saw people. I couldn’t hide in my journal and could only look ahead at the faces that each had a story. People walked up and down the beach, some fast and some slow taking in the sights. After the thick layers of individualism are scraped away, we are left with our humanity that ties us together. I saw faces of joy, awe, and curiosity, but I also saw faces raw with pain. All those emotions are relatable and noticing them helps me feel less alone. I felt things. I realized journaling only takes me so far. My pen controls what gets written down and recorded, and my thoughts are rarely invited in, they just arrive. Instead of dismissing them or ignoring their knock at the door, I practiced giving them a warmer, more hospitable welcome that they deserved.
I learned things about myself that I wouldn’t have known before and definitely wouldn’t have given the energy to explore further. I learned I’m afraid of most things. Planes, oceans, heights, rejection, loss, death, failure, and much more, but I don’t let my fears hold me back from living. Being fearless isn’t what makes us strong. Strength comes from being brave enough to say “no” to the fears that try to control me. This realization was freeing. Although my Bahama’s vacation centered around my marriage and rest, the unexpected learning that took place from the simple act of inviting my thoughts in will continue to stick with me. The vibrant flowers aligning the sandy paths and the sound of the tide rising with the wind were no longer ignored because I was present with my senses and open to more. I am excited to continue this practice at home and will never forget the gift this country gave to me.Amanda is a wife, mother, writer/editor, and certified life coach. Pen and paper make her spirit come alive. She spends her creative time reading, decorating, and handwriting fonts. Her world is better with an assortment of chocolate and a stack of books packed and ready for travel. You can find more of her writing at Downs Ups & Teacups and The Daily Positive.
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