Got Passport??

Could it be? Me…in Israel? While walking the halls of my college campus many years ago, I came across a flyer on the bulletin board – Israel!! Wow!! It sure would be nice to go there. As an enthusiast of comparative religions and myself a Christian, I got excited at the mere thought.  But who was I kidding.  I was already working full-time, going to school at night, and the deposit deadline was drawing near.  How could I afford it? So the idea flew out my mind just as quickly as it entered.

Later that night, just talking about the day’s events with my brother, Kevin, I just casually mentioned that the school was sponsoring a trip to Israel that sounded interesting. He just said out the blue, “Why don’t you ask me for the money?” That thought never even occurred to me. I was surprised, shocked, and elated at the same time. Could he really be offering to give me some money for a trip?? So, I asked. He then responded “Sure, I’ll go to the ATM and get it for you.” It was that easy.

After securing the “gift” from my brother, the next step was to contact the trip sponsor to reserve my spot.  To my surprise, she stated that there was some scholarship money available. I quickly responded, “Where do I apply and what do I have to do?” She then said, get your passport!!!

At this point, I was still unsure about how I was going to pay for the whole trip. But with faith and perseverance, I continued on.  I took my passport photos, completed my passport application, and turned in my essay in hopes of getting a scholarship. Then, the waiting began.

After a couple of weeks, I checked the mail. My passport had arrived!! Woo Hoo!! I quietly prayed in my heart “if the scholarship notification is in this bunch of mail, I know it is God telling me that this trip is for me and He heard my prayer.” As quickly as I pondered that in my heart, I quickly forgot about it. It was just a farfetched thought.   Junk mail, pizza coupons, sale papers…hmmm, that is until I reached the last letter – the award letter.  I got the scholarship!!!

That was over 14 years ago. Little did I know at the time, that my passport would open up the opportunity for me to fall in love with traveling and experience the beauty of God’s creation first hand.  In fact, it has opened the door for me to visit and explore well over 30 countries and 140 destinations.  Many of which I have experienced in the last 2 years on a sabbatical. Yes, my love affair with travel led me to quit my corporate job to see the world and learn new activities.

I have climbed the Great Wall in China, narrowly escaped the earthquake in Japan, watched beautiful sunsets over the Grand Cayman islands, snorkeled near the Twin Peaks in St. Lucia, been surprised with flowers from an admirer in Italy, cruised the Alaska’s Inside Passage to beautiful British Colombia.  I have also traveled to Egypt, Israel, Honduras, Austria, Greece, Colombia, Nicaragua, Germany, Panama, France, Switzerland, and many other amazing destinations.  All because I took a step of faith, got my passport, and stepped out.

Travel has been a glorious adventure and experience that has shaped my well-being and inspired me to be a participant in life, not just a spectator.  Thinking about the thrill of getting my first passport reminded me about the Passport Party Project.  The Passport Party Project will gift 100 girls with their first passport within the next 18 months.  Just think what a passport will do for these young ladies.  A greater world view, an opportunity to marvel at cultures, and the chance to see amazing landscapes – the possibilities are endless.

By the way, I’ve visited Israel twice so far!  Where will your dreams take you?

Inspiration: The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. ~St. Augustine

Be Blessed!

~A