My Best and Worst Travel Experiences

May 23, 2017

Today I thought it would be fun to share some of the best and worst travel experiences I have had! Starting off first with the worst, I honestly don't have any horrible stories. Every trip- even if it has gone in a different way than was planned has ended up teaching me something which in my mind is priceless, but there are a few that I necessarily wouldn't want to repeat. *smiles* 

(1) When I was in high school I went on a couple of mission trips down to Mexico with my church youth group. Each time we took the bus for the near 40 hour trip from Tennessee To Juarez, Mexico. The youth pastor had a real "love" for lots of McDonald's and Burger King and literally stopped to eat every meal of our trips at these two places. Let's just say that with the air conditioning dying and lots of traffic there were lots of us not feeling so great living off of these two fast food places. To this day I literally can't stand either of them.

(2) When I was in high school one of good friends invited me to Hilton Head with her family for a week. The trip down there was eventful as her parents loved to speed (I am talking going over 85 mph around windy roads) and loved Dunkin Donuts. The combination once again was not good for my tender stomach and once again as a result of a trip I grew to loathe a famous fast food indulgence. I literally to this today still hate the smell of donuts. 

hahaha... I am just realizing why I probably over pack healthy snacks on road trips now in my adult life.... hahaha.... 
(3) My third "worst" trip is a bit ironic as it turned out to be the worst for me (physically) but it also held incredibly awesome memories. When I was a cheerleading coach at the school I taught at in DC I took one of the teams to a cheer camp several hours away in PA. We had such a blast at the beginning and the time with the girls really was incredibly priceless. 

Unfortunately, one of the girls ended up getting really sick and about 24 hours later I ended up getting the most sick I had been in my entire life up to that point. I finally ended up in the hospital where I was diagnosed with viral meningitis. It turned out that the college campus that we stayed at had had an outbreak and had not informed all of us that were coming. The picture above is one of the ones from our first few hours on the campus... before the sickness hit. Again, precious times, but looking at the picture still makes me cringe. *hahaha*

As far as a best trip it is honestly hard to pick just one so I am sharing a bit about 9 of my favorites so far. Y'all know that I love to travel and each one trip has been sweetly different and unique with precious memories. Here are just a few of my absolute favorites (#1 and #2 are definitely tied *smiles*): 
I have shared about this entire cruise but it was simply wonderful. I loved every second and we had a blast starting off in Disney world and then heading on to a Disney Cruise. If you haven't been on one I can't recommend it enough- go! You can read about the cruise HERE
This cruise was absolutely wonderful. My parents had never been on a cruise before and when the opportunity came up to go it was a beautiful gift. We had such an incredible time and made so many different memories as we snorkeled in Nassau, relaxed and swam on Coco Cay and just had a great time laughing and being together. It was definitely a trip to remember. You can read more about it HERE.
3. California Trip in April -May 2013
This was the trip that really started my healing journey with Lyme Disease at the beginning. It is incredible to look back and think about all that transpired throughout this time including a diagnosis of Skin cancer, surgery, and the start of a healing protocol that I have no doubt saved my life. I look back at the picture of this woman sitting on a lifeguard station and can't help but smile with gratitude. I arrived in California barely able to eat and walk and arrived back home starting the process of healing. (You can read about all of the posts related to this season with this group of doctors HERE.)
This trip was filled with high anticipation as I flew back across the country (this time to San Francisco) to see a new doctor. By the time I arrived I was incredibly weak and very sick and to be frank... extremely afraid of what was to come. I knew that my body was dying and I had recently been rejected by Cleveland Clinic as a patient as I was told that my case was "to complicated". I arrived, met my doctor, said something brave like, "if you can't help me and I am going to die just let me know now". Now for the record she was number 325 of doctors I had seen about Lyme so I was VERY skeptical going into the appointment and I was trying not to cry as I was afraid to hope that they really could help me. She looked at me, didn't say anything for a few moments, and then said, "We will beat this. Your case is complicated but with hard work you will not die from this. It is going to take a long time and the fight will be the hardest thing you have ever done, but I will help you get your life back." To which I broke down and sobbed as my new kind-hearted doctor handed me a box of tissues. It has been three years and she has never once broken that promise. (You can read more about my first appointment HERE. It is amazing to see how far the Lord has brought me since that time!)
This trip I thought was going to be one of the worst trips... flying across the country to test dose extremely high dose medications and to get a port placed are not the typical "fun trip". But despite this and despite the circumstances of the trip the Lord provided some beautiful opportunities for my mom and I to see incredible beauty as we traveled along Highway 1, saw Muir Woods, and visited Lake Tahoe. As I look back on that trip I have to smile at the symbolism of God bringing beauty despite the darkness.
6. Senior Trip 2009
This senior trip was one of my absolute favorites and such an incredibly special time. While the pranks may have gone a bit wrong with the "London Bombing Night" (hahaha- Kaara, "now that, that is getting annoying... hahahaha) and the chairs that wouldn't stay on the roof that we did some cheerleading moves to get up there, and the schools credit cards not working when we went to purchase food... the laughter, the talks, the evening spent sharing thanks and love for each person in the room remains one of my favorite memories of life let alone a trip. The pictures above capture a few of the moments, but all of them will stay treasured in my heart forever. I love you guys. (PS- This is the class that I dedicated my book, December Caravan to which you can read more about HERE.)
This trip holds such precious memories to me as we had such a beautiful day in the park. I love these ladies and it was a sweet and fun day filled with lots of laughter, lots of fun, and lots of time to create beautiful memories that I will treasure forever. You can read more about this beautiful time HERE.
Isle of Palms, South Carolina holds a very special place in my heart that started with a senior trip in 2008 to this beautiful house (in the middle):
It was such an amazing trip with beautiful memories that when I moved to Georgia and took over the girls Bible class I knew it would be the perfect place to go for a retreat. The trips in 2010 and 2011 hold such precious memories and I look back and smile with gratitude for the beautiful Isle of Palms trips which you can read more about HERE.
9. Senior Trip 2012
This trip holds incredibly precious memories for me... for the trip itself, but also because I knew that life was about to change in huge ways. I had NO idea what these last five years would hold, but I look back on this trip with a smile... I remember on this trip finding the verse from Ezekiel that says, "the Lord is there". I can still remember meditating and thinking through this verse and seeing how the Lord has consistently used this throughout this journey feels like a "full circle moment". The Lord is there... This trip was beautiful and it remains one of my favorites... the people ... it was all just perfect. I love you guys deeply.

Okay, what are some of your best and worst trip stories? I would love to hear!!

Happy Tuesday friends! I hope you have a beautiful day!

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