Unexpected Journeys of Travel

We stepped onto Australian soil an hour before the New Year’s fireworks.

We had friends here. We had a place to stay. We had a timeline for our stay. We had absolutely no idea about anything else.

Where would we work? What would this year as temporary residents involve? Who would we meet? How would a year in this city shape us?

It’s nearly August now, but the journey plows forward as unexpected as any I could have imagined on the plane ride over. Not only am I a writer and a traveler, but I am now a manager of a small business in the food industry.

I never saw it coming. Then again, do we ever?

Isn’t that kind of the point of travel?

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On Initiative

January, 2014

The days are long and hot. It’s summertime in Australia. We spend much of our time easing into a working life: applying for tax numbers, opening a bank account, looking for reliable transport, job searching online, writing cover letters. Setting up a new life takes time. Waiting, though, is seldom as easy as it is humbling.

The world doesn’t turn on our time, it seems.

Once the foundations were set for a working life to be feasible, I decided I’d had enough of waiting for employers to pick my name out of a stack of CVs. I went to a coffee shop to introduce myself and explain why a man with no barista experience and no affinity for the taste of coffee would be a perfect fit for their small startup café.

Turns out, I wasn’t. I didn’t get the job. At least, not the one I applied for.

Before I made it back home, I had a voicemail from the man who owned the shop. He rents out to the coffee joint and while he has no say in who they hire, he has his own food business. A mobile BBQ food truck. He’s impressed with the initiative I took and he’s looking for some help.

The world is waiting for us to get off the couch and make something happen. We are invited to participate in the shaping of today.

When can you start?

On Grit and Glamour

May, 2014

We’ve become a regular Lone Ranger and Tonto, my boss and I.

I’m Tonto of course… and I do the dirty work.

Lots of dishes. Lots of cleaning. Lots of menial tasks. Honestly, it can be tempting to feel like this is all beneath me at times. But I’ve come to appreciate a fair wage in a tough economy, a work experience different than any I foresaw, and a partnership in running a small business.

That. And more delicious BBQ than one could hope for. Let’s just say I stay well fed.

As the months go by, our friendship deepens, his business grows, and new opportunities present themselves.

In the middle of one Tuesday lunch shift my boss turns to me and says, “I want to open up the shop for this business and I want you to manage it for me.” Wait, what? You know I’ll only be here until the end of the year, right? “Yes. But I trust you and want to capitalize on your time with me.”

Travel has consistently been the soil for provision. And surprise.

I’m learning how everyday faithfulness can build and grow into something more substantial. Not always in the ways we think they will and never in our own time. But if we insist on giving our best to the people we’re around, intentionally loving through our speech and actions, we can discover a world willing to hear what we have to say.

Hopefully our own hearts will lean in to listen as well.

On New Challenges

(Almost) August, 2014

After a few false starts and many obstacles to overcome, the new business venture is here. Our conversations consist of chatter about risk, expectations, problem-solving, and direction. We are creating a new thing. This new thing has a certain influence on our neighborhood and who knows who else. She has incredible potential for a currently unknowable growth. This is going to work. We will win at business!

Or we could fail miserably.

Either way, we cannot go back.

The only way now is forward. But it’s a scary path into the invested unknown. Sacrifices will have to be made. We will certainly be shown our insufficiencies. I cannot help but wonder if I’m way over my head.

Then again, that’s where meaningful growth takes place, isn’t it? When we’re out of our depths?

Travel brings us there time and again. She speaks blatantly of adventure while whispering of risk. She highlights wonder and glances over daily realities. She slyly lets go of the bike before we realize our training wheels are off and we’re still upright.

When our breath catches at the understanding, we already wear the grin of one who overcomes.

On Unexpected Journeys

The plans I had for my journey didn’t include my managing a restaurant. But I did leave the space vacant for the possibility. I’m sure it could have gone a thousand different ways, but this is my story now. I still have absolutely no idea how my time as a manager will serve my future endeavors. I don’t know where this opportunity will take me, just as I didn’t know where my efforts at following after a barista position would lead me.

But I wouldn’t have gotten here without first going there.

These unexpected journeys are the bread and butter of travel. They are her forte. She lives for them, taking great delight in sharing them with all who hold her hand.

None of us can know the future and we all take our own risks. Some risk losing themselves among the comforts and securities of a perfectly sufficient existence. Some risk looking into the mirror after many years, only to see regret at a half-lived life stare back with hollow eyes. Some risk failure at putting themselves out there in pursuit of a coveted dream. Some risk failure even when they take the safe route.

Why not take initiative, do the hard work, and face whatever challenges stand in the way with courage?

Seems to me those are the stories worth telling.

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