A Tiny Traveler: Jessica - A Tiny Traveler

A Tiny Traveler: Jessica

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Today's guest post is by Jessica. Jessica is one of my best friends, my roommate, and a co-leader of Inspire with me. She is a senior at Valley Forge Christian College and studies Early Childhood Education. Her heart is the biggest one I've ever seen and her love for children is so encouraging and beautiful. She's a coffee-loving vegan, an avid reader, and a world traveler. Welcome back, Jessica!
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Hello Readers! I just returned from an incredibly busy summer. I spent two months in Asia and one week in the Caribbean.
I hiked up mountains in Nepal, stopping to wash little girls’ hair - little girls who are living with the danger of being sold into sex slavery at any given moment. I stood in front of over one hundred Bangladeshi orphans, teaching them songs and games. I held babies in Haiti, kissing their faces and praying that their malnourished bodies would live another day - some of them called me Mama.
I have so many stories.
But if I could only say one thing to you, it would be this – go.
            I know there are a lot of issues when it comes to traveling – you don’t have enough time, you don’t have enough money. I understand, I’m there too. But even if you have to quit your job, delay school, save up for several years, it is an investment that will honestly change your life.
            Traveling is one of the most important things that anyone can do. To see what it’s like to live on the other side of the country, the other side of the hemisphere, the other side of the world. To see that all people experience the exact same things you do – fear, loss, joy, love, failure, success. To see that our assumptions and stereotypes are wrong.


            My friend was encouraging people to travel when he said this – “Stand in the middle of a village full of people who have never heard of Jesus. Hear the relentless blaring of their calls to worship. Rub shoulders with them in the crowded streets of their market. Smell the incense they offer to their gods. Watch them burn their dead on the banks of their holy rive in a vain attempt to shepherd the souls of their loved ones to a reincarnated life.”
            I have done all of that and more, and it has changed me in so many ways. I want everyone to experience it. I want it to change you, too.
Because it is not enough to look at pictures and to share stories. I thought I knew everything about travelling because my Travel pinterest board was big and because I have heard countless missionary stories. But I was so, so wrong. You can’t understand until you go. I didn’t understand until I went. But then again, I still don’t fully understand.

I thought being on the other side of the world would make me feel experienced, intelligent, confident. But it only opened my eyes to see how much I don’t know, how much I’ll never know, how many places I have yet to be, how many people I have yet to meet, how many babies there are left to hold, how many sights there are left to see. I felt so small, climbing Himalayan mountains in Nepal, looking out at the flooded fields of Bangladesh, and walking through the countless village streets of Haiti. But it’s good to feel small. It puts a lot in perspective.
It doesn’t matter where you travel. If you’re going to Nepal, Bangladesh, or Haiti, I can definitely give you travel advice (Travel Tip #1 – bring toilet paper!). But it doesn’t really matter. Stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon, backpack through Iceland, road trip across Mexico, tour Europe, explore coffee shops in small towns, read books on the train, dig your toes in the sand.
There are so many different reasons to travel. It doesn’t matter your reason. To evangelize, to photograph, to journal, to explore, to hike, to sightsee, to blog, to work, to volunteer, to teach, to be taught. To see that we are all the same, and we are all different.
Go somewhere, go anywhere, go everywhere.


As Susan Sontag said – “I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list.”

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2 comments

  1. LOVE THIS. Yes, GO. Excuses never produce adventure. The perspective and experience you gain from traveling are priceless.

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  2. YES YES YES.

    There's really nothing more that I can add other than YES. I really loved reading this. Being willing to go to the unreached is so life changing. Not only for the traveler, but for those they are sharing with. Wonderful post!

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