Friday Five, 4

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Travel at Home: Savoring the nearby joys

My spouse recently sent me an article, an op-ed piece by travel writer, activist and TV host Rick Steves. Known for his extensive knowledge of savvy travel tips and upbeat personality, Rick doesn’t stay in one place for too long, usually spending four months of the year in Europe. In fact, with the pandemic pausing his plans, this is the first summer in 40 years that he has experienced the sunny season in his home of Seattle! And he has learned a lot in the last 4 months of being home:

Stuck here, I’ve been pondering a big question: Why do I travel? When I was young, I sought out vacations on which I could have fun checking iconic sights off my bucket list. As the years went on, I realized that I traveled more to get out of my comfort zone, to find who I was in the immense scheme of things, and to fly home with the best souvenir: a broader perspective. Since March, I’ve tried to apply this mindset to my current situation. I’ve found that I can satisfy my wanderlust with “sightseeing highlights” just down the street and cultural eurekas that I never appreciated. Before the pandemic, I didn’t think to savor the little, nearby joys in the same way I did while abroad. To be honest, I ignored them. Now I notice the tone of the ferry’s horn, the majesty of my hometown sunset.

And Rick even admits to cooking for the first time…chopping an onion for the first time, making his first pasta. (That last one floored me…how can you be a leading American expert on Europe and never have made pasta???) It just goes to show that we always have room for travel, for exploring the nearby and faraway.

How are you currently savoring the nearby joys?

To be honest, this past Spring felt like ‘disaster mode,’ when we were all just trying to keep afloat in the midst of so many changes. And, while most of us are working through the unique challenges of our lives during a global pandemic, maybe -just maybe- there is space to savor joy. I know, it’s a wild thought…but have you had a cooking/dance party lately? You simply turn on some music and dance around the kitchen, while you’re making a tasty classic dish or new favorite. Even making toast and scrambled eggs can be fun with YMCA blasting in the background! Or enjoy this August weather and explore a nearby park, lake or even drive around and look at the incredible KC architecture (one of my favorite things to do).

See your home through a new lens, pointing out things you’d never noticed before or places you’ve never visited. Bring your friend or family member along to explore together, safely. You just never know what kind of joy you will savor and discover!

To keep myself accountable, I’ll share a few of my plans this weekend…make bagels or cinnamon rolls. It’s been a while, and they’re both so fun to make. Explore a new park with my little dog; taking pets to parks is like international travel for them–so many things to see and smell. Stop and smell the roses…or any flowers that I happen upon…letting this be my prayer of thanks to God.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11
  1. Check-in: How are you currently savoring the nearby joys? Do you remember the last time you felt joy? (Either write down your thoughts or vent to a trusted one.)
  2. Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover local joy this weekend?
  3. Pray with God: God, thank you for inventing joy. Even when we are struggling, we learn from the Psalmist that you fill us with joy when we are in your presence. Give us clear vision to be open to moments of surprising joy in this season. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.

I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your precious time with you. Go forth with joy!


One comment

  1. Beautiful message that I will take to heart. This brought me joy. Every morning I find joy on my porch enjoying the flowers, trees, birds and all of God’s beauty.. But it will do me good to take a drive somewhere to find more. If I tell my husband that is the mission I believe he will enjoy the trip even more. Thank you, see you Sunday. Have a wonderful weekend.


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