Author Archives: staceylynn411

The Evolution of a Journey

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How often do you take a minute and think about the evolution of your own journey? Sometimes it happens at the end of a year, after achieving a milestone or ticking off a bucket list adventure, but how often do you really stop and think about how you got to where you are? Think about it – if Jane Goodall had never left London, if Sir Edmond Hilary had never left New Zealand and if Rosa Parks had never taken a seat on that bus – where would their journeys have gone? We may not all be explorers or activists, but in our own way, we are each on our own journey. If Ferris Bueller taught us anything it’s that ‘Life moves pretty fast sometimes. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it’. What’s the evolution of your journey?

For some of us, we might reach all the way back to childhood to remember what we were like as kids, what captured our interests in our teenage years or to that first job we ever had. For some of us, we might head to the type of childhood we had, what activities we were involved in and what we thought we’d be doing in those five or ten years after high school. Still for others, that evolution may have started in the last decade, the last years or the last few months – perhaps you’re on the verge of the shift right now. What’s the evolution of your journey?

I’m not certain exactly how far back I’d reach to begin my story. Could I start with my childhood, upbringing, sleep away camp experience and university adventures – sure I could. While all of those pieces make up who I am and how I see the world, wherever travel enters my story is where the evolution begins. It could be Disney family holidays or Montauk beach play dates. It could be camp counselors from abroad who first brought a love of accents and culture into my world. I think they’re a part of it all – but I think a turning point is that first trip to Israel at the malleable age of 20. It was over 25 years ago, now, but I can still smell the aromas of the shuk, feel out of breath from my first ever hike, glimpse the desert stars from a Bedouin tent, taste the salt from the Dead Sea and close my eyes to experience the epic, brilliant sunrise atop Masada. And then, months after my return, I can still feel my eyes dance and the corners of my mouth upturn upon retelling the story to my Aunt at Thanksgiving. Without ever knowing it, I think that’s the beginning of my tipping point. What’s yours?

Like all journeys, there are twists and turns, stubbed toes and busted ankles, mountains to climb and rivers to cross. And at each of those crossroads, we have a choice. The Broadway show, If/Then is quite literally modeled after that choice. At a pinnacle point, life could go one way or the other and although we’d like to, rarely do we glimpse what it would have been like had we taken that other turn. When I backpacked Europe with friends after university, I couldn’t possibly imagine how much travel would impact my life’s journey. If you asked me 25 years ago if I would have become a teacher, I would have said no. If you asked me five years into teaching if I would ever leave before retirement, I would have said no. If you asked me if I saw myself leaving the state of NY, I might have hesitated and thought, maybe, but there were too many things I believed for which I had to stay. We really never know what’s around that next bend in the road or the river.

Who would have ever thought travel would shift my perspective and change my life as much as it has – not me, that’s for sure. But, once that first spark happened – the feeling was too good to ever want to put out. Travel and what comes with it has been a part of my journey for more than half of my life now. It’s opened doors I never knew existed, introduced me to people who have helped shape my life and shared experiences with me I never thought possible. Travel has ebbed my doubts and anxiety. Travel has given me hope. Travel has given me wings and travel has brought me the love of my life. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t be me, without that travel attitude, that travel perspective and that travel gratitude.

It was around 20 years ago that I was fully invested in my summer camp work and began my teaching career. I loved those aspects of life, the lessons they taught me and the people they brought into my world. Fifteen years ago I traveled to the other side of the world again and again, my journey evolved. 10 years ago I was on a leave of absence from teaching, living abroad and in the middle of chasing the sun on a one-year honeymoon around the globe. 5 years ago we moved into our first apartment in San Diego and had no idea where life would take us – would we stay, for how long, would we like it here, would we make friends and all of the other ‘what if’s’ bombarded our thoughts. Today, we’ve shifted jobs (and one of us, careers) and coasts, once again love where we live and are truly happy at this point of the journey.

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Who knows where the road will lead, but, today, in this moment, in this space, I am grateful, I am hopeful and my heart is full. Wherever your journey takes you, do your best to find gratitude and joy amidst the ride.

The fullness of the moment

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Writing this feels like I’m channeling Sarah Jessica Parker’s character on Sex and the City as she gets an idea and continues on with – ‘I got to thinking’. At the yoga studio, Amy often reads from Judith Lasater’s A Year of Living Your Yoga. I liked the quotes so much, I actually got the book and am regularly impacted by its quote of the day. In Wednesday’s class she talked about the ‘wholeness of the moment’ and as we practiced on our mats, ‘I got to thinking’ – how can we embrace that wholeness of the moment feeling more often? Read the rest of this entry

Sitting with it all

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Denali National Park, Alaska - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

Have you ever had the thoughts that were constantly spinning in your head? You know, what you think you have to over analyze and then realize that you’re really over thinking and it’s not such a good thing. Have you heard the phrase, ‘sit with it’? Whether you’re a meditation guru, have random talks with your therapist or listen to the speeches of World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe – you may have (at one point or another) heard the phrase, ‘sit with it’. Read the rest of this entry

Seeking that true self

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the true self. Some people find it in their younger years and hold onto it. Others search for decades only to find out in their golden years that they’ve been living by the rules of others for sometime now. Whether it’s been from society, friends, family, religion, what you think you’re ‘supposed’ to do or based on what you’ve seen on television – the focus has been somewhere else, not on your true self. How do we bring that to the table? Read the rest of this entry

Change – it isn’t always easy

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2015 - Yoga

Change is good. For decades I ran away from it, was afraid of it and swore I wasn’t any good at it – today, that’s different (although I’m still not at ease with it). Somehow those beginning weeks of January tend to feel as if we’re standing on a precipice and it could all go in any direction. We could turn back and head towards our same choices and habits or go forward into the unknown. We could dangle here on the edge for awhile and hedge our bets with the thought of lifting off or falling back down the rabbit hole and wait until we feel comfortable with one or the other. We could leap with the possibility of falling, but what if, perhaps we fly? There’s rarely an easy answer, a comfortable feeling or a right time – often it’s trust your gut, trust your journey and believe that the net will appear (because really, you’re your own net). Read the rest of this entry

Abundance, Kindness and Light in 2020

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Hello 2020

Welcome to the new year – Happy 2020, all.

Gratitude. Curiosity. Space. Kindness. Courage. Trust. Change. Boundaries. Forgiveness. Self-care. Openness. Receptivity. Activism. Love. Light. Creativity.

In recent years, people seem to be talking less about particular resolutions and more about a theme for the year. That central theme for the entire 365 days might help to redirect shifts that appear, center choices and realign things that are serving you and discard those that no longer are. Do you have a theme for this year? Read the rest of this entry

Reflections of 2019 – The year I officially got to be a mermaid

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Mermaid Life - Coronado - 2019

Wasn’t it just January? This year seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye. It’s as if we’ve been bitten by Disney magic and time is a medium all its own. There are years that seem to last far more than their 12 months and others that feel lightning fast, this one was the latter. How has 2019 treated you? Read the rest of this entry

Begin Again

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1 January 2019

It’s January of 2019 – can you believe it? We blinked and December turned to January, the days are getting longer and the promise of a new year is upon us. What will you do with the blank pages? How will you make 2019 your best year yet? Read the rest of this entry

At home on the left coast

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We made it to San Diego

Exactly four years ago we arrived in San Diego. A cross country road trip (the first of four in four years) designed to plop us here for three months to avoid a New York winter has lasted far longer than we ever expected. What we thought would be a blip on the radar turned into a chosen city and a chosen home. Even when we thought about leaving, life turned us right back around. San Diego has been a far greater gift than we could have ever imagined. Read the rest of this entry

365 Days

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Last year the husband and I spent Thanksgiving weekend hiking in Palm Springs, California. I remember those photos as some of the happiest ones I had for awhile as shortly after, the entirety of my world shifted. The phone call came the following weekend and aside from sitting at the airport in tears, I don’t remember much after that. Flight, hospital, difficult familial conversations, funeral, shiva and a whole hell of a lot of tears – today, it’s been a year since Dad suddenly passed away. Read the rest of this entry