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Appreciating the Journey

Roads were made for journeys, not destinations. - Confucius

Took this picture while running down a country road in Minnesota

Funny how it takes moving away to truly appreciate what is around you. Or how coming back home to where you grew up makes you so reflective. I’ve been taking so many pictures of sunrises, fields, country roads, and peaceful reminders of the life I once inhabited here in Minnesota.

When I was still living here in my childhood home, my life goals and plans were so much set on the destination. I had three major goals and hopes, to become a teacher, become fluent in Spanish and get married.

In my mind, those were my destinations and I was working on making it all happen as fast as I could. My plan was to finish my undergrad university in 3 years and get engaged halfway through those three years.

Everything was going right as I had “planned” in my head.

Until life happened.

To reach the goal of “becoming fluent in Spanish” and also be able to see the world before I settled down at the young age of 20 to be married, I got engaged and then spent a semester studying in Segovia, Spain.

I was young, naive, and wide-eyed wandering the cobblestone streets of Segovia where every road led either to the castle, the cathedral or the aqueduct. Traveling to Spain and around the country with another 30 university students and our professor opened up my eyes to a whole new world outside of what I knew to be in Minnesota.

Traveling challenged my goals and expanded my ideas on where I was heading and the destinations I had so quickly chosen as an 18 year old.

Returning to finish 3 more semesters of university in Minnesota after Spain and to plan a wedding with my fiance was different than what I expected and although our young love was strong and pure in many ways, we called off the wedding and broke up. It was literally heartbreaking but ultimately a good decision for both of us.

And losing that immediate “destination” of getting married young, I realized I could go down any road I chose at that point so a year later I moved to Mexico at the age of 21 to start my teaching career. I assumed I’d be in Mexico for a couple years and then move on to Argentina or Italy. I assumed my “road” would lead to several international countries and cities as I globetrotted my way through my teaching career.

Here I am 13 years later, growing roots, raising a family and pursuing a career that has seen much more than just a classroom in Guadalajara, Mexico. (I talk more about growing roots in a place in this blog post or this podcast episode).

Even today, as a 34 year old, I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking life is all about the destination. I like to set a goal and reach it. I like to make a to-do list and cross off the items. But the more I’m growing and learning, I’m realizing that life is so much about the journey along the way.

And so many of the roads I’ve traveled moving to Mexico, meeting my husband salsa dancing, getting married in Hawaii, traveling the world training teachers, getting let go from what I thought was my dream job, standing on stages teaching and training in Spanish, and now spending my days virtually training hundreds of teachers around Latin America as we are all in the middle of a global pandemic makes me realize that if we choose to only get to our destination, we’re going to miss many interesting turns along the way.

They say retrospect is 20/20. And I’m sure we can all look back on our life, decisions we made, circumstances that took us by surprise and yet in the midst of the turns and twists along the road, we can be grateful for the journey.

What about you? Where has your journey taken you? Are you also trying to enjoy the present rather than always looking to the future and missing the beauty found in the twists and turns along the road?

Another beautiful morning at Fish Lake.


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