But the World Cannot Be Seen Through a Television

These days, you can see just about anything on a TV. Reckless teenage life, how things are discovered and manufactured, “reality” shows, millionaire’s houses, even the best travel spots in the world. Some things though, they should be seen in person. Those things are worth more than an hour on the couch.

So while I’m not certain about many things, one thing I am certain of: the world is to be seen. I think it likes all the attention! I mean the wonders of the world – what if no one ever saw them? What if great sights turned mundane? What if I decided I chose TV over travel? I’m sure people would reprimand me. And I hope they would! I wish more people would slap my wrist and command me to witness more of the world.

For this 20-something, when I travel somewhere, it’s like a drug. You don’t need to tell me twice, I want to see more and live crazier. It’s like a dare to take more risks.

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The double agent in me wants to crawl in bed, watch a movie, and stay in the comfort of my parents’ house. The lazy part of me, and probably the responsible part. That’s the voice inside reminding me that money has a meaning, a job is necessary, blah blah blah. It seems as if there’s no compromise.

For today though, I can pretend. I can pretend a job is something of the past. Fearless living is not only dreamed of, but an accomplishment. My suitcase is willing to follow wherever I go. And each day is an adventure.

For today, I can travel the world.

xx

I’ve Been Missing… Nature

Having never lived in a large city, I was always familiar to the idea of a town that also had local areas for nature – parks, running trails, hills…. I love nature but it wasn’t something I thought I could actually miss, actually long for. I’ve gone running here to search out any form of open roads, but it’s been without luck. On all my traveling adventures so far, they’ve been to cities with thousands of people, shopping centers, students in colleges. When going to Dublin, this was no different.

My friend and I decided we needed a change of scenery – away from all the people, all the bars, all the stores. We needed nature. After choosing a day trip to Wicklow, a town just south of Dublin, we slowly became more excited. This was the day I looked forward to the most.

And it prevailed. While we were mostly on a coach tour bus and it was snowing or hailing most of the time, there was still time to walk through the valleys, past lakes, sheep – stepping into nature.

I was also able to see the power of prayer at work on this day. For my level of excitement to be so high, the weather was a complete letdown. The tour went past a waterfall in the mountains, but due to the snow we were unable to see it. I was bummed so I began praying. Praying that when we stepped out of the coach, the sun would shine, allowing us the enjoyment of our 45 minutes outside. The skies grew grimmer, but low-and-behold, when we stepped out of the bus, the winds died down, the sun came through, and it was a beautiful time. Only seconds after getting back on the bus from our walk, the clouds darkened and the snow returned, but for that short time it was perfect.

Don’t doubt the photos, it was that sunny out when we were outside.

I’m a nature-lover.

xx

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Craic Happenings in Ireland

Craic – pronounced like crack – is Irish fun and enjoyment. And let me tell you, Ireland is full of craic!

Dublin, Ireland

Home to just about every Irish stereotype: over one thousand bars, short/red-haired/freckled people, potato-lovers, even a few of those cute kilts. With the weather much lower than average – a rainy, windy, freezing combination – it was difficult to fully experience some of the outdoor entertainment over the weekend. We did, however, swallow in the best of the bests. Trinity College, famous university whose library holds The Book of Kells; Temple Bar, a section of town basically filled with bars and clubs; Guinness Storehouse, a museum detailing the making of Guinness beer – complete with a complimentary pint at the end; a day-walking tour, able to take in the majority of this great town from a hilarious tour guide. Our last day in Ireland was spent a little different, a story for another time. The hint? Nature.

Our three days in Ireland were a blast. Skipping over the miserable weather, my friend and I enjoyed ourselves. It was my first stay in a hostel, which turned out to be better than expected.

We stay both nights in Isaac’s Hostel, only blocks away from the city centre. The place was clean, considering the dozens of traveling 20-somethings invading the hostel. We opted to sleep in a room with 8 females total. It wasn’t the worst, let’s just say I’m thankful to be somewhat narcoleptic and able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. All in all, as a young traveler, I was pleased with the hostel.

As for Dublin, I should have expected the rain. Something unexpected – the friendliness. I still cannot believe how friendly Irish people are! Two separate times, our waitresses talked our ear off about Dublin, our travels, recommendations, and America. We even made friends sitting at tables next to us or in passing. Before we could even ask for directions, there were numerous people seeing if we needed help.

Overall rating: A+ Ireland, A+.  

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Town of Greats

Oxford, England.

A true rival to Cambridge and I now understand why. Colleges, hidden pubs, libraries, and a history full of iconic role models.

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll.

Writers. Inspirations. Heroes. If only one day I could be half as eloquent with my words as one of these greats. Even being in areas where Tolkien taught, and studied, and lived was a dream. To imagine a life much different than this is difficult, but to grasp that new “greats” are yet to come is near to impossible. There will come a time when my generation accepts their talents and embraces futures full of greatness. I can only hope it’s a writer rather than a rapper, a playwright over an athlete, a reflection of God’s creativity instead of someone with selfish intent.

Rant over. Food for thought.

In addition and unrelated, I regretfully regret steering clear of Harry Potter. Apparently remnants of films and features and celebrities are strewn about England – too bad it’s just another site for me.  Maybe I’ll begin reading soon, because that’s the correct way any series should begin: Paperback.

Until next time.

xx

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Some Things Don’t Ever Change

Traveling is all about change. Change of scenery. Change of language. Change of people. An infinite amount of dissimilarities.

Yet through the nearly 4,000 miles of traveling, I’ve recognized some things that haven’t changed.

Such as my enjoyment of a solid nap to break up my day, or the way I talk to my two miniature Dachshunds in that high, squeaky voice – even if it is over video chat. It’s given me the neon sign that points directly to what things I care most about keeping. I still have found ways to share life with my closest friends, and request advice from those wiser than I. I’ve found ways to read the news and be informed on what’s happening in the world, and update my parents on where I will be (kidding…kind of). I know which restaurant has the better Asian food, and which bookstore has the better comfy couch. I still don’t wash my hair often, but somehow I don’t think that will ever be different, and Diet Coke is still welcomed like a drug.

Some things don’t change, no matter how far away you go.

Equally, my God doesn’t change – no matter how many miles I travel.

He is still the same faithful, trustworthy, all-knowing, loving God. Just because my location has differed, He surely has not. Almost one month ago, I wrote a post about being in a “waiting season” and seeing what God had in mind for me here. Now, a short time later – still unsure exactly where this trip will take me – what I know to be true is Jesus. I can rest in His presence, I can believe that this day is a gift. This day is another day to focus on Him – the one who remains. The one who stays the same.

And while I know that some day my love for sushi may fade or I won’t be capable of taking a nap each and every day – which dear goodness, I hope neither of those happen – what I do know is that some things, some One will never change.

Rest in His hope. Rest in His love that goes beyond borders.

xx

Royal Dissapointment

Wednesday held a new day, a new adventure in London. This day we had in mind to tour through Kensington Palace. I did my research prior to leaving and found great reviews. There was also the added bonus of possibly glancing to see a royal.

Upon arriving in London, we meandered towards Hyde Park – miles and miles of green and trees in London’s midst. It reminded me ever so much of New York City’s faithful Central Park. As we walked and walked towards the Palace, the sun came higher and grew warming making it a lovely day. We finally came to our destination with disappointment at the outside. It wasn’t nearly as large as I had hoped. There was a beautiful pond outside and gardens that would have been prettier come spring. As I journeyed inside, I was only to continue with disappointment at this wonderfully and intricately built house that held the historical lives of dozens of Kings and Queens had been transformed to a…museum. One third of the house – the King’s Chamber was gorgeous. The architecture was stunning in each and every room. As for the other pieces to the house, I could have done without them. I was happy to see the Palace, mark it off my list. 

What made the entire trip worth it? The sun, the company, the tree-filled and pond-filled park, the aimless wandering, and the shopping. The list could continue. I would count the day as another success.

 

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I Dream of Cambridge

Cambridge, England.

A wonderfully historic city, filled with secret niches, places of quiet beauty in gardens and courtyards and parks, and the sites of students and professors engulfed in one town. If I were to think of a dream place to study, it would be at one of the dozens of colleges under the umbrella of the University of Cambridge.

This place is known for more than a placement for the studious. It has the River Cam running throughout the city, claiming to fame “Punting.” A mix of stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, and riding on a gondola. They also have tens of thousands of bikes traveling at any one point. It’s like a craze for the locals, and a danger to the ignorant visitors. While I’m still getting a handle on looking the correct ways crossing the street, I was not on the lookout for bikes. It could have been a tragedy more than once.

All in all, words are not enough to portray Cambridge in a way that does enough justice. History. Books. Water travel. Bikes. What more could you ask for? I am in love with this city. xx

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Dear God, Please Give Me An English Accent

I’ve been here almost a month now. You could basically call me a local!

I was actually asked to give directions yesterday, I could have cheered out of excitement – until I couldn’t tell the lost person the right directions. I hope they eventually found their way after I confidently gave them excessively vague directions to an unknown place. But that’s neither here nor there because that woman believed I knew my way around! Woohoo!

I have caught onto some phrases I’ve been a little too scared to use, but come one day I will flawlessly execute the use of them in conversation.

I have to go to the loo. – Bathroom

Oh, that costs a fiver or five quid. – Five pounds

Hiya! Cheers! – Greeting and salutation

I’m rubbish at cricket . – Garbage or bad

Where’s the launderette ? – Laundry room

Finish a sentence with “xx” – Like xoxo but without those pesky hugs

You all right? – Greeting like “How are you” where a response almost isn’t necessary, not to be confused with a genuine inquiry about my wellbeing

Bloody!! – somewhat of a vulgarity

(And my favorite) Bugger Off! – Get lost

Now the only thing I need is the accent. Fingers crosses it will come. Im not holding my breath, but… I can’t wait.

Onto Bath, Not to Bathe

Today, new territory was traveled: Stonehenge and Bath.

B-E-A-utiful.

Stonehenge, as it turns out, is indeed a set of rocks. It probably didn’t help my attitude that it was pouring rain. I do love history though so it was worth the wet walk.

This was until I saw the 18th century architecture in Bath. After a gorgeous walking tour my mind was completely made up that this was my favorite town visited so far. From the Roman Baths filled with natural warm spring water, to the structures and river flowing throughout the city, to the mineral-rich drinking water that was to die for. Every second I saw something I loved.

What historical and prime cities piece together England!

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Even though the pictures don’t do justice, these were breath-taking sites.

I’m Beginning to Like it Here

Uh Oh. We all know what that means – I’m never coming home. I’m going to find a husband, live here forever. No, No. I just could picture myself here. I’m past the “Visitor” mark now. Week 3. It’s kicking in that I’m not just passing through, but I better settle in. And that’s finally starting to happen.

The closest route to all my classes has been found.

The nearest grocery store, not just the biggest, is known.

A running route through the town center has been made.

My first flight to France is booked for March.

Two of my professors actually know my name, whether or not it’s because I’m “The American.”

The lesson has been learned to always carry an umbrella, even if there’s not a cloud in the sky and I’m just walking across the field.

It’s getting familiar to take public transportation wherever I go.

I’m capable of walking to the other campus without needing to wipe the excessive sweat off my forehead.

I can finally sleep through the night without waking up and thinking it’s the afternoon.

The cutest little bookstore has been located.

It’s no longer a surprise to wake up and look out the window to see dreary skies.

And even after all these things, I still have held onto a few of my tourist characteristics. I had to ask another student in the library where the @ button was on the keyboard, I still haven’t figured out how to order a plain black coffee without getting an americano, and I take pictures of simple things like mailboxes and bus stations.

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