As the brunt of my traveling the past 4-5 weeks has finally come to an end I finally have had a chance to reflect on how everything went down. I’m sitting in an airport on less than 2 hours of sleep. It’s 6am and I woke up at 3am to make sure I was ready for my flight. I realized I am at the end of the road of all my traveling that started September 17th starting with a 3 week trip to Europe with my girlfriend, then coming home 2 days before my sisters wedding.
I left the morning after my sisters wedding for our annual guys trip for a Buffalo Bills away game. After that 4 day trip I left for New Jersey for a conference for 4 days and then drove back home to Buffalo NY and ran a social event for my job. A week and a half after that I flew to Houston to speak at another student conference. A month and a half of constant traveling has ended. So what did I learn during all this?
Things that stuck out to me while traveling, now that I am reflecting:
The thing that kept coming back to me the most on my traveling wasn’t the sights but the people I have met along the way. My perspective keeps coming back on how humbling it is that this world is filled with so many good people. I feel like we usually find what we are looking for. When we look for heavenly perspective in earthly circumstances things just stand out a little differently. What we look for in life seems to be magnified throughout our days. If we are looking for whats wrong it doesn’t seem hard to find it. If we are looking for the good in people we might surprise ourselves. I believe is the same with divine opportunities.
When I flew to Houston to speak at Student Engagement conference I realized when I landed I was in the wrong Houston airport. I google mapped my hotel to see where it was and to my dismay it said 2 hours and 7 minutes away. I immediately realized I flew into the wrong airport. I sat there and realized my only option at that point is to rent a car. So, I just focused on the task at hand verses how dumb of me it was to book the wrong airport. As I went to the baggage claim I ran into a really nice young lady and I shared in laughter what I did wrong. I then went to the rental car shuttle to start the process of renting a car. A Houston native then informed me I wasn’t 2 hours away. Google Maps just calculated that it was 6pm rush hour. I was only 40 minutes away and could uber there since rush hour traffic was practically over soon. What a nice guy to take the time out to hear my story and give sound advice. I then struck up a cool conversation with the shuttle bus driver who decided to skip her last stop so I can get to the uber pick up zone quicker. She didn’t have to do that. I was also upgraded to the exit rows on both of my flights to and from Houston. I simply just asked and didn’t expect it. At the conference I remember meeting a singer named Wendell where we randomly struck up a conversation in a group late at night. Long story short we ended up sharing what’s going on in our lives. We ended up praying for each other at the end of the night. And what struck me the most was that he asked to pray for me and for me to pray for him. How cool was that? It was a huge blessing. I remember now two girls crying during one of my education sessions. It takes strength to let it out and not hold it in all the time. I remember asking the audience if anyone else is a Bills Fan and no one raised their hand. Sometimes we have to stand alone.
When Amber and I were traveling in Europe we had a great trip manager named Lana and a coach driver named Rostto. I think I’m spelling his name wrong. Both were great to be around and had a great energy about them. When I had my wallet stolen in Rome Italy Lana shared in my concern. She was in control of 40 other people but she did the best she could in the situation. I’m thankful for that. Rostto and I had a great conversation at a pit stop for lunch on the tail end of our trip. We talked about his aspirations and I had a chance to share some of my story. I’m grateful for that conversation. When my wallet was pick pocketed my girl friend was sadder than I was. I’m thankful for her tears and her feeling my pain with me. A guy named Gerald sat behind Amber and I on the couch bus throughout Europe. we talked about our philosophy’s in life and where we’ve been and what books we have read. He helped me with my website which was a little out of whack at the time. What a cool guy and nice enough to do some IT work on his vacation. Those little things that are so big to me. I would’ve never figured out the problem and the solution on my own. We all have unique gifts that others don’t have to release freedom in other peoples life. We can miss them if we are too busy just looking after ourselves. Gerald reminded me of that.
My Brother, good friend (Shawn) and I went to our annual “Guys Bills Away” game and chose Cincinnati this year. We got on TV for being in the end zone with a Bills Flag. I felt like the whole city of Buffalo was behind us that game. We hung out with a good old friend of mine, Lexi. I’m thankful she let my friends and I stay at her place the whole weekend. Is there anything better than being greeted by a good friend after some hours of driving?
I remember speaking in New Jersey just outside of NYC a couple week ago right after the Bills Trip and meeting Rafael at the conference. He was a quiet guy who came up to me after one of my speeches. He shared his story and his next step of wanting a healthier life. He was from the country Jordan and loves him family deeply. We talked about his father and how much he was loved by him growing up. It’s cool to see father’s doing the most important job in the world. Impacting their family and being emotionally available. I’m thankful for Jordan who raised my faith level that day.
What I really learned through all of this:
I’ve learned through my traveling that it doesn’t really matter where I physically am but its where my heart actually is. The People I’ve run into and the conversations that we have. The destination is just another perk. I never want to feel like I am escaping something in my life but just looking for another experience. The problem with escaping our realities back home is that when we are on vacation, we are still there. And our hearts are too. A destination isn’t going to change our heart. Only Jesus can do that.
I’ve learned to suck up my pride on these trips and to open my heart when things aren’t going right or things don’t work in my benefit. From things getting stolen, to reservations being wrong, to people growing impatient with me not answering their emails back since I wasn’t near any wifi for so long. I’m thankful for every next step that has been taken the past month. Reflecting on it now Jesus was so present the whole time. We are as close to God as we want to be. And my hope is that we are drawing closer to him everyday so we can see more of who we are, what we are created to do and then being empowered to move forward into our destiny.
Let me challenge you with this:
What little next steps have you experienced the past week that maybe got over looked? A conversation with a random stranger. A bonding moment with a friend. A random stranger lending a hand or encouraging voice. There is so much good when we look for it. What we focus on grows in our heart. What is growing in your heart?