Category: Lessons Learned (Page 2 of 2)

do it anytime.


Right before we left! Gosh that was a while ago.


“Do it now, while you still can.”

This spring everyone was astoundingly supportive when they learned of our coming road trip. Our nerves concerning finances, logistics, and the future were dulled by the constant waves of positive encouragement we received from family, friends, and coworkers who knew of our plans. Repeatedly people told us “Do it while you’re young” and “I wish I could go with you.” But most often we heard, “Do it before you have responsibilities – it gets harder to do that kind of thing when you get older.”

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“make less beautiful” (big bend).

Big Bend.

Big Bend National Park.

There’s something about Big Bend that demands reflection. Maybe it’s the big, soft peaks looming over you, or the way the Basin campground is nestled between the mountains as if in a hug. Maybe it’s the silence, or the endless horizon. Big Bend is the least frequented national park – making it easy to appear, when correctly located, as though you are the only person there. After a month on the road with non-stop driving and visiting, the quiet was rejuvenating. Recognizing that we weren’t meeting our trip goals of (1) running, (2) writing, and (3) figuring out a life plan – the space to reflect was necessary. So we stayed for almost a week.

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“the sh** that’s going to happen”.

At 1:00am I still hadn’t fallen asleep. I lay there, trying not to move, in an envelope of heavy, humid air. It was mid-eighties and the trailer was stifling in the South Carolina humidity.

A few days before, in Asheville, NC, we woke to a puddle of water at our feet. The guy who built the trailer was apparently as inept at waterproofing as he was at installing lights. The leaks were now fixed, but we didn’t have a screen yet. We draped a tarp over the window hoping to deter mosquitos. So far, we had only succeeded in deterring any wind relief.

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fear vs caution – in sumter national forest.

“Oh my god. What about snakes?” I blurted out, breaking the car’s silence.

“Um… what about them?”

“Does South Carolina have poisonous snakes?”

David kindly held back a laugh and said, eyebrows raised, “Most southern states do.”

I tried to pretend like I wasn’t panicking at the thought of slithering things that could kill me hanging out in my running path. I knew I was being ridiculous, but I’ve inherited some of my father’s paralyzing fear of serpents.

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embracing the unexpected.

Things don’t always work out the way you plan. Especially when you’re on a road trip. I’ll probably struggle with this most of the time on the road, but it’s what I asked for, and what I wanted. The first two stops of the road trip were wonderful, even if a bit nerve wracking.

We spent a night at Shenandoah National Park and stayed with David’s Aunt and Uncle in Virginia Beach for several days to celebrate Passover (a second (?) for me). I have so much to write about! Yet, our laptop charger broke… resulting in limited blogging access. It’s been frustrating, as all I want to do is write, but in exchange I’ve had more time and energy to devote to visiting.

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on being 23.

We have so much to do. I can’t even express what our apartment looks like right now, considering we drive out in a few hours. I’ll write more about the trip later, but I can’t get these words out of my head, so here it is:

Exactly two years ago I wrote this post about turning 21 in Tanzania. My birthday involved a lot of sacrifice (of goats), Easter, soda, and friends. It did not include alcohol. I remember feeling like I truly became an adult that day, surrounded by new friends, in a new country I had come to love. It was my biggest adventure. And now, exactly two years later, I’m headed out on a new one – this time, destination unknown. (The birthday in between involved a stomache flu and my first ever star wars marathon… not a lot to report there).

It’s been very emotional. If you followed me in Tanzania you know I realized how I truly loved being American and how greatly I loved my family. Yet, again, yesterday I said goodbye to them Sunday for an undetermined amount of time. It was 8x more emotional than when I went to Africa. But I’m again looking forward to what I can learn about myself when I de-root and leave home.

Yesterday was chaotic, emotional, and wonderful. David took me to dinner at the new locally sourced restaurant in Harrisburg, The Millworks. It was beyond amazing. One of my favorite farmers, Judi, took me out for lunch – also delicious! Thank you to both of them.

All day I received text after text, message after message, call after call, wishing me a happy birthday. I’m writing this as a thank you to every single person who reached out. I haven’t yet had the heart to respond to everyone (basically anyone), but I will. Right now this move is taking over my life. 

If you’ve stuck around since Africa, thank you so, so much for all the love you’ve shown over the years. But also, infinite thank yous to all my new followers. I hope you like the new website! ( If you aren’t yet following me there’s a lot of options on the right sidebar!

Off we go.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading.


My first five nails.


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