Monday, November 22, 2010

{ World Traveler }

A few nights ago I was working on a Christmas project, waiting for Mike to come home for dinner. I wasn't in the mood to listen to myself think, so I logged onto Pandora. This is the first song that played, and I was transfixed by his beautiful descriptions of the longings for travel, marriage, and children--those have been my three biggest desires for most of my adult life.

Here are the lyrics, in case you can't {or don't want to} listen:

World Traveler by Andrew Peterson

I grew up in a little town
A southern mix of lost and found
Where most folks seem to stick around
But I could hear the highway song
I'd sit out on the dock till dawn
And dream about the great beyond

(I dreamed that I was)
A world traveler
Set me loose to find my way
Just get me out on the road someday
With my sails unfurled
So many mysteries
I wanted to unravel
If I could travel the world

Soon enough I had my way
I saw the world the Lord has made
Mostly from the interstate
But I had hardly seen a thing
Until I gave a golden ring
To the one who gave her heart to me

(And I became)
A world traveler
That's the day I hit the road
'Cause I walked the hills of the human soul
Of a tender girl
I'm a world traveler

She opened the gate and took my hand
And led me into the mystic land
Where her galaxies swirl
So many mysteries
I never will unravel
I want to travel the world

Take a left at the end of my street
Just a few doors down
Up the hill and into the trees
There's a hole in the ground
Where we traveled the caverns so deep
We wandered the wonders so wide
It was right beneath our feet
All this time, all this time

Tonight I saw the children in their rooms
Little flowers all in bloom
Burning suns and silver moon
And somehow in that starry sky
The image of the Maker lies
Right here beneath my roof tonight

(So hold on tight, I'm a)
World traveler
Pack yours bags and dig down deep
Let's ride the storms and sail the seas
To the distant pole
I'm a world traveler
Into these uncharted lands
To blaze a trail in the vast expanse
Of the heart and soul
In the grace of the God of peace
Let's wade into the battle
Come on, come on with me
And get up in that saddle
There's a million mysteries
I never will unravel
Come on, let's travel the world

I still dream of traveling: Italy, Greece, the British Isles {anywhere in Europe, actually}, South Africa, Israel. I know the reality is that international adventures are not financially possible for us now {along with most other middle-class Americans}, and that since we want to have a large-ish family before we're middle-aged, such travel will probably not be feasible for many years to come, if ever. I sometimes struggle with feeling that I deserve more than my woefully mono-continental life {unless Hawaii counts as another continent!}. Our self-absorbed consumer culture makes me feel antiquated for choosing marriage and family and fiscal responsibility over grandiose vacations. This song really struck me because it speaks to the tension between these desires. It acknowledges that choosing to say "yes" to one opportunity may mean the response to another opportunity must be "no." That's not only ok, it is good and right. While I may not need my passport in the near future, I have chosen to explore the world of a lifetime shared with my husband.

It is still a choice that I find myself facing many times each week. Sometimes it seems like a daily battle with envy. Perusing blogs, receiving Travelzoo's Top 20 Travel Picks each week in my inbox, reading magazines and news articles, all remind me of beautiful, fascinating, faraway places I'd love to explore. I love my husband, I love the life God has given me, and I am so glad that we're able to own a home in this economy.

And yet there's that little tug...don't you want to see the places Jane Austen wrote about? Don't you want to volunteer at an Agathos village in South Africa? Don't you want to vacation in the Greek Isles? Don't you want to visit Cinque Terra and every other lovely spot in Italy? The answer is yes. There's nothing wrong with dreaming of exotic locales or hoping for a trip someday. Sin arises when I feel jealous that others get to travel and I don't, when I give envy, bitterness, and ungratefulness a foothold in my soul.

I never thought this would be such a struggle for me. In spite of my desire to travel, I've only done a little. And I am a homebody at my core who is much happier crafting at home on a Saturday afternoon than getting dressed up and going out. When I was younger, I'd mentally store up adventures for my future: "When I'm married, I'll go to _____" or "When I'm married, I'll do _____." I abhor lonely adventures. I'd almost rather not go somewhere new or do something new if I have to do it alone. So maybe I'm only a world traveler in my dreams.

Now that would be convenient! It fits quite nicely with my life, don't you think?


  1. You know, Nikki, I read this yesterday and felt so honoured to hear your heart. But the more I've thought about it the more I've thought that I think God put those longings in your heart for a reason. I think as you walk in obedience to Him He has plans to surprise you with taking you to some pretty incredible places. Have you guys ever thought of doing a short term missions trip? That was just a thought I had...

    I will be praying (I already have since reading this) that God will take you to some amazing places with Him. (And Mr. Mike, too. : ) )

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I really really love that song! I love Andrew Peterson, but I had never heard that song before.

    Thank you for sharing your sweet heart, Nikki. I can relate so much with the longing to travel. I hope so much that one day you are able to take the a trip of your dreams! The whole time I was reading your post, I kept on thinking about this sweet piece of writing on my tumblr...


    Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

  3. Oh, I so hear you on this. Since little on, I've always longed to travel. In my naive youth, I'd never realized the finances, the time, the exhaustion that is involved in travel...and so I'd sweetly stored up all these little adventures I'd take, whether single or hitched...I simply had to!

    And then adulthood struck. There were bills, jobs, education, family...and my nomadic dreams took a backseat. I finally traveled across the Atlantic this summer, to Ireland. It was beautiful...but I got the entire eyeful of all that cross-continental travel takes!

    Sometimes, I think our technology bites us in the butt here. The ability to constantly see new locations, the awareness of what is really out there and the ease with which that info jumps into our helpful...and at times damaging! I, like you, find myself jealous of friends (or bloggers!) who have been to Europe multiple times and get to see the world routinely. It's so difficult to squelch that jealousy.

    Keep your dreams. :) Marriage or's not one or the other. Well, it might be more of one...and a little less of the other. :) But keep dreaming that you'll see the amazing world God's created across the sea. Someday you will!