There have been many conversations over the course of the last month, started with a shaky breath, followed by a quick spill of what I’ve been thinking, what I’m hoping to do, and why I feel the need to take the rest of this year to travel and figure out what’s next. As I shared yesterday, it is a vulnerable thing to share a dream just starting to take shape.
Yet I have been overwhelmed with the support and delight and encouragement I have received on the other end of these heart-spilling soliloquies. The exuberant acceptance and tender encouragement of dear friends has been so emboldening, reassuring as their hands reach across the table and interlock with mine. The giddy smiles spreading wide and the celebration has been the kindness of God incarnate to me. I don’t know if my mom can even know what her words meant to me as she said to me on the phone a few days ago, with confidence and the tenderness only mothers can intone: “Allie, I trust you. I know that you are going to be okay, and that this will be an amazing experience for you.”
Yes, I am heading out on this solo trip, but I do not go alone.
I have been overwhelmed and truly delighted by the opportunities for connection that this trip has already provided. More people than I can count have resonated with my ramblings and ponderings that I’ve been processing out loud, both through this blog and in person. It’s astounding how many people are in similar places. Not necessarily about to uproot and wander for awhile, but so many people are in the midst of transition, knee deep in trying to figure out what they want and who they are. As C.S. Lewis so puts it so succinctly, “friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” This is why I am writing. Why I will try to continue to be transparent and think out loud with you, why I want to keep hearing your stories, to listen well and sit in the midst of the narratives with you. The catharsis that comes from reading or hearing or encountering someone articulate something that is deep within you trying to be understood is beautiful. Those moments of connection are something I am deeply drawn to and something I would be honored to be able to provide to others.
I want to say, at the outset of this, dear reader, that I want to live out loud on this blog, to invite you in on this journey. I hope not in an Instagram-worthy, glossy edit of my whirlwind adventures, but rather an honest reckoning with all of the beautiful and confusing and uncomfortable and unforgettable moments along the way.
I discover so much about myself through travel and also through writing. As part of the motivation for this trip is to enter into engaging with creativity, in risking and growing as a writer, I’m asking you to share my stories, the posts that resonate with you, with others. This blog has already been a platform of connection in surprising and beautiful ways, and I want more of that. If you have ideas of where I should go or what I should do, I want to hear them! If you’d like to connect more and dialog about the
crisis adventure you find yourself in the midst of, please reach out. I would love nothing more.
Many people have told me that I am brave in doing this. I never know how to respond to this remark, wondering if it’s true. I don’t know if bravery is the right word. I just am coming to find that the cost of risk and vulnerability, choosing to pursue that which ignites my soul, while it isn’t cheap, is a much more rewarding risk than the cost of living in fear. There are moments of needing to choose bravery, but as I look up I see the army of courageous people all around me, owning their stories as well. And for that, I feel enCOURAGED and unendingly grateful.