The Mountain

Several months ago, I found myself lost on a cluster of mountains. It was supposed to be a fairly quick and direct little hike, which had seemed simple enough when I planned it before setting out. Alas. The trail was poorly marked, and I didn’t have a map or GPS, so within an hour I realized that I was on the wrong trail, headed in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go. I spent the afternoon trying to rectify this mistake, to no avail, instead tripling the distance I originally intended on going, and climbing up and down all these little mountains in a pretty nonsensical way. Of course, I had to keep reminding myself that everything would be okay: I had plenty of food, energy, fresh water, sunlight, and most importantly, literally nowhere else to be (#vacation). Even if my initial plan was a bust, it was fine – maybe even better – for me to spend seven hours wandering around this mountain range.

At some point during this venture, I was reminded of Dante, because I’m a little boring he was another person who got lost in the woods. In the Divine Comedy, Dante’s allegorical journey to heaven, he sets up Purgatory as a mountain. So the Christians who die with unresolved issues essentially become cosmic hikers. They forge uphill through a series of trials as they are purged of their sins and climb closer to Paradise. Mt. Purgatory’s trail is cyclical – it winds around the side of the mountain, so these hikers climb gradually in circles, which grow smaller and smaller the higher they go. Continue reading →

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Coming Home

My favorite part of traveling is coming home.

I tried to think of a way to explain this without sounding like a boring and ethnocentric ass, but it’ll be easier to just tell the truth.

I like America, a lot. Not in an overly patriotic “God Bless America” kind of way (I’m pretty sure millennials aren’t allowed to think like that) but in a lifestyle kind of way. It’s the little things that make me defend my nation to naysayers (who are, by the way, often American): 24/7 grocery stores, air conditioning, big cups of coffee, etc. Nothing idealistic or political, just the things that make my life as I know it easier and more comfortable. Do I think America is the best country on earth? No, of course not. Do I think it’s the best country for me, a happy American? Yes, I do. Continue reading →

Energy, Urgency, and Mission

As previously mentioned, I’m really into the concept of church. And though I’m pleased to have been in a committed relationship to a church community for nearly six years, it means that I don’t see other churches very often. So it’s a treat for me when I get to check out a different church, especially a different kind of church, especially in a different country.

I recently attended a young, international, Pentecostal church in Norway. The Holy Spirit led me there insofar as it was the first result of a Google search. The lights were dim, the music was loud, the oldest person in the room was barely 40. There were flashy videos and catchy songs. The amount of energy in the room caught me off guard, and honestly, I couldn’t get into it. During the first song, one of the music leaders graciously informed us that “we’re dancing and clapping like this today because we’re excited about Jesus.” Continue reading →

Work & Identity

I am unemployed on purpose.

To be clear: I left a job that I loved because I was worried that someday I would stop loving it. I knew I wouldn’t stay there forever, and I wanted to be able to look back on that season of my life with fondness and gratitude, not bitterness. The timing was right, so I can do that now: I am immensely grateful.

So now I’m unemployed, and I have been for nearly two months. On purpose though. As of this writing, I haven’t even seriously looked for a new job. Continue reading →

This Isn’t A Travel Blog, But…

…I’m about to take off for a five week trip to Europe, so I’ve had travel on the brain lately.

In general, I’m pretty content being settled in one place and having a normal routine, but I suspect that that contentment is the result of regularly satiating my natural desire for adventure and exploration. I’ve been really fortunate to see and do some amazing things in my life, and I’ve learned some things along the way. Before departing for this summer’s trip, I thought I’d share some of those things with you all.

Here we go: Continue reading →