Walking through Bend, Oregon a voice rang over a megaphone. Then a drumbeat.
Two women sat in a sullen park, surrounded by plaques engraved with the names of all the fallen soldiers of the War on Iraq from 2003- present.
They had begun reading at 8:30 am; the soldiers’ name, age and hometown. We passed by at 7:45 that evening.
A woman sat by herself on a blanket. No doubt remembering someone close to her who had lost their life. I wanted to comfort her. To remember the important one she had lost. To sit with her in the heaviness she and too many others’ bear. I felt a part of an experience much bigger than myself. I slowed my pace and silently let the gratitude for these fallen soldiers pour out.
This is why I travel. To experience the unknown, which includes both good and bad experiences. Experiences that challenge you. Experiences that expand your perspective. Experiences that cause “soul-growth”. Experiences that connect you with others.
Our weekend was filled with heart-stirring scenery:
We completed stop #7 in our completion of the 7 Wonders of Oregon- the Painted Hills.
We drove across the playa of the Alvord desert. There was an oasis out there- I understand how people can lose it.
We daydreamed and drank Pendleton in the Alvord Desert Hot Springs.
We hiked the Blue Basin Overlook trail, after a sweet nights’ rest at the Fish House Inn in Dayville, Oregon.
Passing through the small town of Spray, we stumbled upon the Spray Rodeo, which swells the streets from a population of 160 to 1,500. It also happened to literally be Christopher’s first rodeo!
What’s not pictured is the dozen welts peppered across my skin from mosquitoes.
Or the hike that we skipped out on because Taggert’s paws were burned and torn from a previous hike. (Not to mention the warning of three snake sightings at the trailhead)
Or the extra day spent in Bend, because a screwdriver went completely (!) through our tire 15 minutes after pulling out of a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.
As I sit and write this blog, I notice how my memory extends much further into all the good experiences. Even the “bad” experiences, I hesitate to call bad- I took lessons from them.
- Remember bug spray.
- Always travel with a spare. (and a really great travel partner, who changes it quick and with some jokes)
- Take care of Taggert’s paws- he needs good “shoes” just like we do. (We bought Musher the next afternoon).
It’s funny how travel does that. There are no “bad experiences”. It’s all learning experiences.
And expanded perspectives.
And deeper relationships.
And to let the gratitude pour out.
What have you learned from your recent travel experiences? How has a negative experience shaped your next travels?