Okay, So this page will see some modifying, but I figured I had better start on it. I’m working on getting some older photos up here of my first excursions in my younger years, so those will come later. I’ll definitely add photos for all this stuff. But I’d like to begin at least by telling you where I’ve been….
Ever since I was little, travel has been a pretty normal thing in my life. Although my very first years were spent between only 2 different houses leading up to 9 years old, that has changed to a grand total of now around 20 different homes. So when I say travel, I don’t just mean vacations. Although that’s going to be a part of this bio also. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in the exact same house for his whole life until the army. That’s a difficult thing for me to be able to imagine how it would feel 🙂
So that’s a good place to start: where all have I lived? I grew up those first years on Long Island, New York. We had my dad’s bigger family there, and my mom’s parents would come up from Florida pretty frequently to visit. Then big changes came: my parents decided to leave it all for an unknown future in California. I know it can’t at all be compared to the pioneer days of setting out – but we still did it kind of pioneer style: the old Ford van packed out and pulling a u-haul, everything else picked up by a moving company, and destination not entirely set in stone. But the plan was for my dad to go to Bible college.
California was a bit of a culture shock for me, but I adjusted quickly. We moved around a bit in the Orange County area. Then at 12 my dad, sister, and I went down to Mexico on our first short term mission trip. I remember seeing poverty for the first time, it was pretty eye-opening.
Then at 13, we moved to Arizona in the small mountain area of ShowLow. So folks, that is now experience in humid New York, with the bay within walking distance; sunny and dry California with the beach in driving distance; and now, cold and dry mountains….no ocean. I have to say, I do prefer to be near the water. But the mountains do have a beauty of their own that can be satisfying. My sister and I spent those years hiking, exploring, fishing, then when I got my license – driving all kinds of dirt roads in the backwoods and the indian reservations.
Just before I would be 17, I made the move by myself to Albuquerque, New Mexico. At first I hated it. Brown, no ocean, and now city – yes, I could drive over to the mountains, but that’s not the same as stepping out your back door to a mountain stream and forest trees. I did an internship at a church there, living with 7 other girls doing the same. But eventually the Land of Enchantment did grow on me, and I miss it a little.
So I have to pause a second to mention my travels as far as ‘vacations’ go. Half of my visits were under the category of ‘short term mission trips’ mostly set up for teens who go and see that there’s more to life than our American clubs, sports, and friend-status. And I’m very glad for those. I went a few more times down to Mexico in various parts – one building trip, one vacation Bible school trip, and one drama outreach. Every time I saw different aspects of poverty: those who live in the dumps (literally); the more country living – simple and poor, but not wanting for beans and rice too much; a suburb well set-up orphanage; and an orphanage in the city of Juarez with its traffic, filth, and crime. I’ve never been to Mexico for a pleasure trip. But those times were enjoyable and fulfilling.
My other ‘mission’ travel while a teen was to Thailand for one month. That also was a turning point in my life. After that trip of visiting with university students, driving through the northern jungles to primitive villages, and visiting an orphanage there with happy children and bare rooms, I decided that was what I wanted to do with my life. Get an English teaching degree and go to Thailand to help any way that I could. But God had other places for me to go, and of course, if you go to about my: military life, you can see more what happened then.
And as far as fun goes, I had been to (up to this point in my life) Colorado for river rafting, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Northern California through the redwoods, and Niagara Falls. Out of all of those, the one I want to go back and visit is Zion National Park – by far, the most memorable beauty of those places in my opinion.
PART 2: Travel After Marriage
I’ve already talked about where we went as a military couple as far as where we’ve lived. So I’ll just list those places, but you can read in detail in about my: military life. We lived in Italy, North Carolina, back to New Mexico, back to North Carolina, and now Germany. But what I want to fill you in on here is my travels during those years.
My first trip after being married was down to Sicily, and I fell in love. If there was ever the chance, that is where I’d go for the rest of my life. I spent a month in Gela (and most people will tell you that is not Sicily’s finest) and while there I visited other places, the most beautiful being Taormina. But besides Sicily, I also traveled around the usual toured cities: Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice. And some other not so well known – Sirmione, Trento, and Bolzano. Honestly, while in Italy, I only traveled once outside of that country to Austria. But I loved Italy and seeing all I could of that country. Lastly, I met Siracusa. Bella Siracusa… This past year, I’ve written a poem about that place. It’s in Italian, and I’ll post it sometime soon. But the story to the poem is that there is no other place I’ve felt so right, and so calm. And if I can’t stay there, then I want to take it with me. That was true with the first trip I made, the second, and the most recent one. I love it there.
Where else have I been since being married? Ah, one visit to the Philippines to an orphanage there. That trip was made by just myself and my daughter for 3 weeks. And we had such a neat time. Then as a family we’ve been to quite a number of places in the states (Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York, California, Arizona) and now are working on seeing some of Europe (the Netherlands, Holland, and France for starters).
So what do I say to sum up all these travels I’ve been about? Seeing the diversity of God’s creation is something special. There are still quite a few places I’d like to go for that reason – Africa, Australia, even one of the arctics, if I could manage a trip there. Another important thing I’ve learned from all these travels is that people live very differently everywhere. And there is not necessarily a right or wrong way to build a home, eat a meal, and live everyday life. The only thing that matters and makes a difference in all these various people is if they have a relationship with Jesus or not. I know others have said it before me, and it’s very true: Believing the Bible and trusting God really can cross all the diverse cultures as far as I’ve seen. People pray differently – some sing, some pray all at the same time, some stand. People sing to God differently, from quiet and solemn to dancing and shouting. But the ones I’ve met all believe the same truths – that Jesus died for all and He gave Himself in our place, each one of us no matter where we are from.