Investing in Friendship (and travel)
Other than those who have to do it for their jobs, not many people willingly take a plane from the east coast across the states to the west coast and back again three days later. Call me crazy, but to me these are things we should do for our people. We should invest in friendship, in people--- over things.
Earlier this month I kissed my husband and kids goodbye on a Saturday morning, drove two and a half hours east from western Maryland to BWI airport, got on a plane, and flew six hours to San Diego then another three hours north to Seattle. I repeated the pattern to go from west coast to east coast home sixty hours later. Fortunately I had a travel partner, one of my very best friends to travel with me-- to see ANOTHER one of the original “high school besties” who moved from Mississippi to Washington state a few years ago.
On the trip I got to see what life looks like for my old high school best friend (who is a semi-newlywed and new mom) in the great Pacific Northwest, AND catch up with my travel buddy/best friend. God didn’t give me sisters by blood. But he did give me women who have done life with me for the past twenty-twenty five years. In the fall of 2000 we all started at five different colleges spanning from Maryland to Florida. Life has taken us all through many different life choices and paths….we’ve all gone our own unique ways, but we somehow seem to find our way back. Correction, we MAKE the time to find our way back.
I was reminded on this trip that our history does matter. Our foundation of friendship matters. It matters to me a ton, and that’s why the investment. That’s why I took the trip….to recognize a friendship and support it. We need to support one another no matter the distance between years of tight-knit, inseparable friendship-- or the differences between life philosophies, life choices, or simply geography. If you are blessed enough to have a friend who has known you since you were twelve years old, I don’t care how close you all are anymore--- take this as a sign to reach out. Everyday people are struggling--- you may be struggling. Be a human who cares, a giver to those in your circle-- and I promise you being that light to your friends will reflect back into your own life in a meaningful way.
The side benefits of being in Seattle for my friendships were--- I got to meet a sweet baby boy who is the most content little being I’ve seen in a long, long while. I also had the chance to travel, to witness the sights, sounds and smells of Seattle. One particular memory of mine happened in the middle of Pike’s Place Market. Just feet away from the legendary Pike Place Fish Market, an elderly gentleman caught my eye. He was dressed in a white dress shirt, black suit, and black hat. This man was laughing it up with a local gentleman about half his age, and skin color different from his own. They looked like they spoke together daily, and their friendship was just so pure and genuine. I lingered near a dumpster to get a photo of them as they parted ways. As the local troubadour played acoustic guitar, I smiled as I felt the eyes of strangers watch me as I watched these two men, and committed the moment to a tangible memory through photograph. That pure friendship was beautiful and I was blessed to witness and capture it.
My parents gave me the gift of day trips as a kid most Sunday afternoons, trips to the beach every summer, and even a family trip to Europe as a teenager. The cherished gift of the love of traveling has been passed on like a gene. My dad has a workshop that has a sense of sacredness and wisdom within the walls. Actually, there is wisdom ALL OVER the walls, or shelves literally. One particular quote I was introduced to by my dad’s handwriting in sharpie marker on a carpenter’s workshop shelf comes from Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
So take that quote and travel. Travel to another country, another state, another side of the world or just the next city over. Leaving your “corner” does so much for your world view, for unity among nations, and individually for your soul.
I want to continue to travel as much as life allows. In regards to how I carry myself and what I strive for-- I want to be intentional about so much but I’m not always good at it. When life here on Earth is over and the pretty photographs fade, I want them to say “she was good to her friends”. I trust they will say that about you too. In the meantime, enjoy the product of me lugging my camera bag on and off planes as my carryon from these images above, a few phone selfies with these lifelong treasures I call friends, and find a way to leave your little corner of the world (even if it’s simply taking a walk), oh….and honor your friendships-- whatever that looks like for you.