Christmas carols and lights, brisk air and fires- this is the setting of an American December. Shopping and church services, ceaseless wracking of the brain to discern the best gift for each family member, endless cocktail parties... Jake and I decided to give ourselves a slightly different present for this Christmas. We booked a plane ticket halfway around the world and set our schedules for two weeks off work, and went to explore an Australian summer, a Christmas season in shorts, and most importantly, re-unite two brothers who have spent two years apart.
As we have travelled, Jake experienced his first trip out of the country, and an opening of his heart to the idea that a satisfying life can be set up anywhere- and that while we undoubtedly live in a beautiful state, we also have much to see "out there." A wanderlust, long lurking but never really explored, sparked here. And to see his brother and sister-in-law... his spirit lifted higher and higher, his happiness palpable at these two weeks of physical proximity. I take for granted that my family is entirely accessible to me, that my siblings and parents are no more than an hour away at any time- a gift not to be tossed aside.
Our trip was stunning, a wide scope and breadth of activities packed into merely 13 days, but the best parts of it were the connections- two brothers able to hug for the first time in years, the two of us learning to travel with each other, soaking up the sea air, looking out over some of the most beautiful places in the world. No matter where you are for Christmas- home, traveling, on a beach, on a mountain- take a minute. Take a breath. Break away, visit someone you miss, go see something you've seen in a book but never thought you would see in this life.. Be PRESENT with your loved ones instead of giving them presents. That's the real gift.
I have always been told to go see the world, well this time I listened and was able to share it with someone special. While spending time with family I haven't see in a long time. Visiting Australia, I was able to experience things I learned about when I was a kid. It was a experience I will never forget, but it definitely showed me the importance of traveling.
It showed me that getting outside of your box (country, town, city) is very important, not only do you get to see beautiful places and have fun adventures but getting to visit another culture and talk to the locals is most important to me. It is true if you are willing to open up and talk you can learn alot especially about yourself. I was taught at a young age the importance if being kind to others and I think Aussies were taught the same lesson, a country can only be as beautiful as its people. This world is a gift from God go see it and definitely enjoy it.