91 discoveries of an American traveling & living in Asia

07 June 2017 [Redding, California]

Every so often I take a few moments and recall, “where was I a year ago and what did I journal about?”
I found this nugget. It was 150 days into the wild adventure. Now since this was a year ago (which I can’t get over how crazy that is to me), I thought it’d be fun to share it with you now.
At the time I only made it to writing 91 things, and not 150 like I intended.
With that, here are 91 things from my perspective & experiences half-way through the year last year. At this time my feet had walked in 7 countries.
I hope it brings you some smiles like it brought me. 🙂

Continue reading “91 discoveries of an American traveling & living in Asia”

Wired for connection

Who I am today has been shaped and influenced by the people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, cultures I’ve experienced, new things I’ve done, jobs I’ve worked, who I’ve lived with, and gotten to know. So on and so forth.
The common strand: people.
People have shaped & influenced who Andrea is today.

I was reading through some blogs, emails & journal entries from this time last year. January last year, I didn’t think the places I had been thus far in my time with World Race left a mark on me. I didn’t think I had left my mark on the country & people.
A year later, I see differently. I didn’t know it at the time, and it was not how I expected, but each country & people I got to know have left their mark on me.
I guess, I have left a piece of myself in each country, and a piece of the country gave me a gift.
You see, I expected deep connection everywhere we went. When that expectation was not met after the first month, I felt like a failure. I felt like I was approaching this experience with wrong expectations & for a time I didn’t know how to adjust my thinking & approach.

 

Memory & the brain is incredible. I can recall moments around a table eating or walking down the street. I recall little moments that may seem too small to remember, but that’s just it, I’m wired to recall those moments I felt connected to another human being.
It’s actually pretty dang amazing if you think about that for a minute.

314 days abroad.

That’s..

7,536 hours.

425,160 minutes.

27,129,600 seconds.
Here I am 75 days after the 314 days, and I can recall a moment (seconds or minutes in length) in that span of time & picture it in my mind like it was yesterday.
Tell me that’s not incredible.
Brain, you’re incredible. Thank you.

 

Where was I…people!
I would not be the Andrea I am today without allllll the people I met, befriended, listened to & laughed with this year.

Wow.

People.
You are people.
Thank you.
Reading how many hours, minutes & seconds make up those 314 days has brought my mind to a halt.
As will this post be brought to a halt.

 

Want to know more about my time with World Race? Blog site here.

The truth we’re too scared to share

 

I just read a Facebook post of a missionary to Iraq. I stumbled upon his page and the bigger vision he supports back in the beginning of December.
In a matter of 2 or 3 days, I stumbled upon missionaries active in Iraq, Burma & Kurdistan.
That same week I was trying to keep up with the inhumane conditions in Syria and the people there. My heart was breaking & I felt utterly helpless but wanted to help so badly.
I would share posts of what was going on b/c I was sure 99% of my friends on Facebook were utterly unaware.

Now, I hardly ever share news & world events. I honestly don’t keep up with news & happenings unless there’s one story or video that grabs onto a ventricle of my heart & I can’t ignore it.
Imagine that– someone grabbing a ventricle of your heart. That figurative hand is stopping your heart from functioning properly and you FEEL the effects immediately. You are immediately affected. You can’t ignore the hand, b/c if you do, you’ll die!
If there’s an article or video or story that grabs my ventricle, I have to do something about it. I will read more. Educate myself more.
I will probably share the article or video b/c I FELT something.

I think so often we scroll through our Facebook feeds, or selectively read what news we want. (Don’t worry, I too am guilty of this)
There’s so much choice & mediums of information, we can literally go through a day without FEELING anything.
I can go through a day deciding that I want to only find things that make me laugh, so I will only FEEL light.
Maybe I don’t want to FEEL discouraged or helpless, so I purposefully won’t read or watch the news.

What is that?
Are we too scared to SEE reality? Are we too scared that if we are exposed to the reality of something other than the one I am creating for myself right now, that I will actually FEEL something and I will have to DO something about it?

I swear- since I’ve come back from my “world tour” (as some people have called it) people will only ask me the superficial questions. The ones that don’t make them FEEL anything but good. By people I mean people that aren’t willing to ask how I’m really doing. People that are my relatives or acquaintances from church.
These people tip-toe around and frolick in the field that makes them FEEL good.

I have become so angry at the American church. Yes. Angry. At the American church. I admit it! I’m guilty. 🙋🏼 Judge me all you want, criticise me, think what you will. Tell me I’m wrong. But let me tell you more first, okay?
Let me expound on why I FEEL angry.

One of the most difficult things I had to come back to in America-materialism, consumerism. The constant messages of “buy this new product,” “you need this vacuum because it sucks 10x better than our lady model,” “make your life easier with laundry detergent that does all the work for you.”
Seriously? Like, that is what Americans are so consumed & concerned about? Stuff. Clothing. Makeup. “Make your eyelashes longer & sexier.” Cars. Phones. Televisions.

Oh but Andrea you came home just before Christmas when those commercials and adds are at the highest & most advertised.
Okay, make the excuses all you want. Are you denying American culture revolves around STUFF? Are you trying to make this argument so you can avoid the topic of its influence in your life?
It’s okay! This is where you live! This is your culture. Admit it.
I admit, not proudly, this is the culture I live it. It’s where I come from.
THANKFULLY I have new eyesight & can SEE it. I’m not denying its existence and influence in my life. (I just got an upgraded iPhone b/c I could get a discounted new phone. I am not exempt, okay?)
Look, I’m not here to slap you in the face or punish you for living where you do, if in fact you do call yourself an American.
I’m not here to generalise and say that “all Americans are so freaking self centered and you all suck, get your heads into a different worldview.”
I’m not here to tell you that I hate all of you and wish I was never born in America.

I’m here to say- HEY WAKE UP! FEEL something!!! FEEL angry! FEEL helpless!! FEEL something! FEEL something for the nations & world outside your own!

I’m not giving you the right to complain about the government.
I’m not giving you the right to be upset with your family.
I’m not giving you the right to argue simply to argue.

I’m saying- have the GUTS to look somewhere difficult.
Have the GUTS to consider “what would it FEEL like if I was born & living in Iraq? What would my thinking be if I were a Christian in Morocco? How would I SEE people if I were a refugee?”
Have the GUTS to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

But Andrea I am not passionate about the world like you are.
I’m not telling you to be passionate about the world.
I’m begging you to see the world from a different perspective than solely your own.
I’m begging you to BE HUMAN.

Why are so many people afraid to travel? Let me be more transparent and honest in my real question… why are so many AMERICANS afraid to travel? Why are CHRISTIANS afraid to travel? Not to any western country in Europe or the exotic, sexy tropical places were you can relax and have a restful time.

Why are CHRISTIANS afraid to travel? Why are Christians afraid of the Middle East? Why are CHRISTIANS afraid of Muslims?
Why are CHRISTIANS afraid of Arab people?
Why are CHRISTIANS critical, judgemental and weary of people- just like you and me- from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, anywhere?!
Are we afraid that if we meet them, we will be WRONG about our ideas of them?
Are we afraid that we are wrong about the world?
Are we too scared that we’ll be found out as fakes? Hoaxs?
Are we afraid of being found out & exposed to who we really are?

Or are we just too afraid that we have feelings we’re not sure what to do with and we don’t have a solution?

FEAR.
Stop letting fear rule you.
Isn’t there a verse in the Christian Bible about not letting fear rule you…

Are we afraid we will SEE & FEEL the brokenness of the world? Are we afraid b/c we won’t have a solution?
I’m not asking you to FIX the world! I’m not asking you to have all the solutions or even just one solution.
We live in a broken world. Systems will be screwed up.
But be brave enough, have the guts to feel something. Don’t be indifferent to anything that doesn’t affect you personally.
Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.
People are relevant.
People are human.
You are human.
You have feelings.

WHEN you travel, IF you travel, people won’t ask you to come fix their broken worlds.
People will invite you into their homes. People will want to share stories with you. People want to eat with you. People want to hear your stories.
People want to be human.
So be human.

//
Back to the original post on my Facebook feed that started this… He was talking about Christians that are persecuted 100% of the time in 21 countries.
He listed those countries.
Guess what? Those countries are not in Western Europe. The list didn’t include Australia or Canada.
The countries are those countries Christians don’t talk about casually. Why not?
Have the guts to educate yourself. Have the guts to read stories from these places. Have the GUTS to feel something other than “it doesn’t pertain to me.”

The 21 countries:: North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, India, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Kenya, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Egypt.

The original post:: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1400543909980428&id=322728757761954&ref=bookmarks

// I know not everyone falls into the generalisation I made of Americans & Christians. //

// Comment. Thoughts? What are you FEELING from this post?