This summer goes down in history as one of the greatest! I took a chance at traveling across the country by train. I must say, the 80-hour journey from the great state of New York to sunny California was nothing shy of amazing. I saw America from behind the scenes and boy was it beautiful. Just seeing the gradual changes in the landscape was fascinating. The skyscrapers along the Atlantic Ocean turned into the cornfields of the Great Plains. Running windmills switched over to white-water rafting between the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, all to end up sailing on the Pacific Coast in a foggy city, decorated with steep hills.
I had never been on a train that long. In fact, I don’t recall being confined to any one space for that length of time. I mean, I was home within 50 hours after childbirth! Needless to say, this trip was a test of my endurance. To go from having your own bathroom, to sharing a few restrooms with over 200 passengers…only the strong will survive.
Thankfully I had a pleasant experience. Sure, we ran into a few weirdos here and there, but SHE wasn’t on the train long enough to ruin the trip. Honestly, her loud, late-night rants to customer service about delays and wanting “recompenses”, became the comedic impressions we had with new passengers after dropping her off in Cleveland. Otherwise, I enjoyed great conversations. Some shared commonalities in hometowns, hobbies, and habits. Others offered new insights on happiness, health, and wholeness. I played teacher, student, counselor, client, sister, auntie, daughter, and great-grand over the course of three days in that one vehicle. Our goodbyes in San Francisco were bittersweet. We had just been on an adventure. And though there was much more to explore upon detraining, that piece of the journey belonged to us. Good times!
I chronicled bits of my trip on social media while I was gone, and received several messages asking, “Are you by yourself?” I was excited to respond to each inquiry with a resounding YES! Why? Because I was living out a YES despite any NOs. Every reply reminded me that I have authority over the yeses of my life.
You see, there will always be reasons not to do something. Many times, we blame others for our limitations when actually, we reject ourselves. Whenever we wait for others to give us permission to live, we hand over our power to an entity that doesn’t regard the quality of our life the way God intended. I’d still be waiting if I needed to be booed or buddied up before experiencing the world. So instead of surrendering my dreams to an uncertain future, I ventured out there by myself and discovered, I was far from alone.
I was surrounded with like-minded people the entire time. I was one of many out-of-towners cruising to the Statue of Liberty. I wasn’t the only fan taking pictures at the filming locations of my favorite TV shows. I wasn’t the only one confronting my fear of heights by walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. We combined our efforts and held hands for most of the stretch. In fact, a lot of us on the train were solo passengers who wanted to experience America in a different way. Hearing myself say “Me Too” reassured me of God’s nearness. It proved that He will always reward my leaps of faith with the confirmation of divine connection.
The point I’m making is quite simple. There are parts of your journey you must travel by yourself. You won’t always have the comfort of familiarity when taking chances. That’s what makes it…a chance. The chance is the bridge to your YES. And chances are, you will run into other faith-walkers along the way.
Be intentional about changing the trajectory of your life, one God-inspired idea at a time. Whether in terms of travel, business, education, or redecorating your room, build your YES with risks…and research. Wisdom is the principal thing.
Lastly, remember to make memories. Don’t just live in the lesson of the moment, but create memories. The memories become your legacy. So, be purposeful in all your endeavors. That way, when the moment is over, you will be proud of the memories you made!
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