Unknown Experience.

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:

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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.

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We daydreamed and drank Pendleton in the Alvord Desert Hot Springs.

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We hiked the Blue Basin Overlook trail, after a sweet nights’ rest at the Fish House Inn in Dayville, Oregon.

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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!

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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 soul-growth.

And enrichment.

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?

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