7/15/14

Tiny Traveler: Katherine Henson

I am so excited to be posting the first of many tiny traveler stories!
Today's post is from Katherine who blogs over at Katherine Here. She is from Illinois and has such an inspiring and creative site. Go check it out! Katherine is a tiny traveler not only because she loves to travel to new places, but she has such an adventurous spirit! Her blog and instagram feed are both so creative and filled with bits and pieces of that adventure she craves and her twitter account is so inspirational and encouraging! So, without further ado, Katherine's tiny traveler story.

What Traveling Solo Taught Me
It will never be easy. It will never be smooth. It will never be just getting in your car and going.
It just won’t.

When we choose to travel, to take spontaneous adventures, and wild goose chases, we are also choosing chaos. 

Doesn’t sound right, does it?
Well it is true.
Trust me.
When I first decided that traveling alone was ideal, I automatically assumed that it would make for a stress free get away, and adventure of a life time, a perfect opportunity to discover myself. 
Sure, those things came eventually, but I got more than I bargained for there. 

When I chose to take Spring break road trip from Chicago to Kentucky to Tennessee and back I started planning a week before, borrowed my mom’s jeep, and left. I was in a tough spot in my life and I just did not want to be here anymore. I needed to be somewhere where not a single person would recognize me. Where not a single person would see my face and say “oh that’s the girl that ____”. No. I wanted none of that. So I left. Packed a small bag, and went. 

While chaos and anxiety followed me, I learned a few valuable lessons. 
The last five miles of the first day left me with panic and fear. I questioned every thought and feeling in my heart and stomped on every belief that I was okay. 
I got away like I wanted, but I had yet to find what I was searching for. That moment right there left me searching a little differently along the rest of my trip. 

Here is what I learned along the way:
I got away, but I could not escape. I could travel to the other side of the world and still discover that I was not further from my problems than I was when I left home. You can run, but I promise you will not be able to hide. Why? Because you didn’t leave your worries at home, you brought them with you - in your heart, in your mind, in your hands, in your clothes, in your bag. You carried them along. So no matter how hard you try to throw them out, block them, or avoid them, they are still there. But here is the thing - STOP trying to just toss them out the car window. You originally planned to get away in hopes to escape your problems, but what you really need to do is face them. A thousand or a million miles from home, you need to face them. You need to jump off a cliff with them, and on the way down you need to face them and you need to overcome them, and when you hit bottom you need to leave them and you need to climb back to the top. Now, now you can truly get away. 

Fear is not a crippler, but it is not a crutch either. If I ever let fear get in my way I would not have a wall full of postcards, pinned maps, and unforgettable memories laid in photographs. If I ever let the crippling fear of failing stop me, I would never get more than five steps out my front door. Fear cannot be your crippler. Fear cannot be your crutch. Fear must be the not-so-gentle push off the edge of comfort. Fear must be what pushed you off the edge with your fear in hands, and what edges you back up the mountain with a lighter load. Fear must be the driving force behind every step, every mile, every adventure. Don’t let it take you over, but don’t think you won’t need it.
Everywhere you go, be there. It was very easy for me to forget where I was because I was so focused on where I would be going. I got lost in what would come, that I never saw what was. It is far too easy for us to rush. So stop. Stop looking ahead and see what is right in front of you. Take a detour down a back road, spend an extra five minutes by the water, another deep breath, another promising memory. Allow not just your eyes, but your heart to be overcome by what is staring right at you. Wherever you are, be all there.
Never say no. There isn’t much more I can say about this. Be a little risky. Try new foods, meet new people, take new roads, see new sights. Never be timid when it comes to saying yes. Have a little fun, be a little wild and free. 
Less will always be more. I am horrible at packing light. But I have quickly learned that the more I packed the more places my fears and burdens had to hide. It may sound silly, but it couldn’t be more true. The more baggage I tried to carry, the more weighed down every aspect of my trip was. One bag is always enough. You won’t wear all ten pairs of shoes, and you don’t need to pack every shirt you own “just in case”. So grab everything you might think you need, and then try again, and again, and again. Until you are down to what you feel will never be enough - now you are good to go. 
If you want it, you can get it. Whether it is backpacking across Europe or a three day drive down the coast, just go. It doesn’t matter what you are going for, just go. You can have anything you have pictured in your head, and you can have it even better. Just don’t hold back, don’t fear what may stand in your way, and never let your mind talk your heart out of going. 

Believe in yourself. This simple idea applies to every single aspect and mark of life. You must believe in yourself. In your potential, in your dreams, in your being. You must be all you, and you must let all of you be. 

I recently took another solo road trip, only this one consisted of meeting and staying with people I have only ever known over social media. It was three times to length of my Spring break and it stretch my heart that much further. I re-learned all of these lessons on that trip, too. I had my fair share of fears and panic attacks and late night brain overloads. But I came out with more than I had bargained for, because I chose to keep going, and because I chose to not give in. 

I can’t promise that you won’t fall flat on your face, get lost, or feel alone. You will. But that my darling, is just the beginning.
So keep going. Keep being free. Keep the wild. 
Just go. I promise you won’t look back in regret. 
See more of my trips here

3 comments:

  1. I am in love with this post! It's absolutely lovely. <3

    XO
    Alyssa Nicole @ Sincerelyalaska.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was so wonderful! It fuels my wanderlust. I am ready for the chaos and the refinement. I am ready for my own tiny travels!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gabrielle TrenbathApril 19, 2015 at 2:41 AM

    Great post!!! I love travelling on my own, its the best!

    http://blogsbygabrielle.blogspot.com.au

    ReplyDelete

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