Posted by: evedlewis | August 24, 2009

The Journey Begins

All I remember is the darkness and the green leaves brushing against my small legs as I walked quickly in the night.  I knew where I was going, but I wasn’t quite sure how I would get there or when.  I had a companion, but I don’t remember much about him except his name.  I was focused on myself and my ultimate mission.   My companion, Daniel, trailed behind me, as I led the way.  My breath was heavy, my pace was fast and my eyes were wild and bright.  I remember just those few moments.  I’m not sure what Daniel and I said to each other or what sparked the journey.  I just remember that my heart guided my momentum and my soul drove me toward this mysterious place that my mind thought was within reach.

The next thing I remember is police.  Police lights and policemen.   The red and blue lights flashed into adult faces and lit up the enormous sky like the fourth of July.  My mother was crying and frantic, but I wasn’t sure why.  I think I remember her lifting me up and hugging me.  This marked the end of my first childhood journey to a far away land.

I wish I remembered more about this pinnacle day in my life.  What was I thinking?  Did I watch something on the television that inspired me to start walking?  What did Daniel and I discuss?  Was I mad at my parents or one of my teachers?  When my mom asked me what in the world I was doing, I simply said, “I was going to Mexico.”  And honestly; I was.  My five-year-old mind was very clear about that goal.  Daniel and I were two five-year-old friends on our way to the Mexican border. 

I don’t remember being angry at anyone.  I only remember being curious and courageous and determined.  I also remember feeling like my mother and the police had interrupted my journey.  Realistically, I was just a few miles from home, but I felt like I  had just a couple hundred more miles to go before reaching the Mexican “promise land.”  I knew that Daniel and I could make it.  My imagination was incredible.  I didn’t feel like a “run away.”  I don’t think I was “running” from anything.  Instead, I felt like a deranged explorer.  I was embarking on an exciting adventure, and I was “running” towards something.

I still feel, to this day, that same urge and desire to travel and “discover” something.  I still don’t know exactly what it is, or where I will find it, but I am stepping out once again on my journey.  This time I am older, alone and more prepared.  Perhaps, this a journey of “self-discovery.”  Maybe my travels will bring me closer to myself – closer to God – or closer to others?  I am not determined to have all the answers.  I am simply going to go.  Just like I did when I was five years old – almost 30 years ago.

Although I never resumed my trek to Mexico, I have visited several parts of the country (and other countries) for vacation.  Visiting a country as a “tourist” on vacation though is very different from landing in a country for the purpose of an internal quest.  My life requires a new direction right now, and everything has pointed me back to my childhood desire to travel.  I can no longer deny the gentle voices I hear from far away lands, beckoning my presence.  They have called me all my life, whispering in their native languages, demanding that I come and learn their lessons.

My new destination is Seoul, South Korea (update: actually Jeonju City).  I plan to depart in a few months, and I am thrilled about all the possibilities.  I do not speak one word of Korean, and I have no idea what to expect in this new land.  I just know that my heart beats faster and my soul feels warmer as the day of my departure grows near.  I plan to do some research on the country before my arrival, but I would much rather be immersed in the culture like a naked baby, being born into a fresh, new world.  I have some expectations and some worries, but my goal is to remain as blank, humble and open as possible.  I know that God is leading the way, so my concerns are minimal. 

I worry most about the food in Korea and missing my favorite things and people in Georgia.  I am not a big seafood eater, so most of my meals will likely be home prepared.  I have heard that squid and octopus are among the snacks served in the movie theater instead of popcorn.  That’s cool – but I doubt that I will become a squid and octopus fan while there.  I will miss my family and friends terribly, but people who are very close to me know that I need my independence and freedom – and they completely understand and support my travels. 

I have always admired and respected the focus on discipline and the high performance expectations in the Asian culture, so this will be in line with my character.  I am looking forward to being back on a strict and regimented schedule.  Everything else is viewed with enthusiasm and delight.  I’m sure there will be problems, language barriers, cultural clashes, surprises, frustrations and disappointments along the way – but that is life – no matter where I’m located on the planet.  I am overly excited and overjoyed to be moving forward on this journey.



  1. Wow, beautifully written!

  2. Thank you Shantalay!!! 😉 xoxoxo

  3. I feel that I came across your blog for a reason.

    I’ve been thinking about moving overseas to teach english for a year, for awhile now. I’ve heard that Asia is the easiest to get accepted by, with out a degree; I just have to get the certificate/license.

    My 30th birthday passed a little over 2months ago (September) and I’ve been wanting to travel again and especially while I can. I’m not married and don’t have any children at the moment. I hope to one day have both.

    I am in a relationship, but the idea of “going away” for a year and like you said discovering myself, stays on my mind.

    My plan today is to read all of your entries, of couse finishing up 2009, to your most recent post. So thankful for this blog, I’ve literaly been googling to find blogs of Americans who are abroad.

    I’ve written enough sorry. lol

    • Hey Shand — Thank you for visiting my blog!!!!! I’m not sure how easy it is to get into Asia these days. As far as I know, most schools require that you have a degree, but you may be able to find some jobs that will accept you with the TESOL certification. Please check your e-mail for more information about living in Korea. Oh — Happy Belated Birthday, and welcome to your 30s!!!!!!! 😉

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