I’ve felt it for some time now. The stirring. The discontent. The rustling in my soul. An itch on the inside I just haven’t been able to scratch. Though the intensity ebbs and flows, it is ever-present. The tension. The urge. The compulsion to dare. To dream. To open my arms and jump.
I have needed an adventure.
I was sure last year was the year. I was turning 40 and surely some kind of adventurous caper would be the perfect elixir for the mid-life funk I found myself in. But the timing wasn’t right. There was too much going on and though I dreamed and imagined, I never actually left. But one day, I told myself. One day.
But then, quite unexpectedly, I lost my job. 1 month ago today, actually. And suddenly, there I was. Unsure of what to do. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so from experience, I did the one thing I’ve learned to do best when I don’t know what to do… I prayed and went to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning, I recall quite vividly opening my eyes and realizing the future before me was wide open. I certainly didn’t know what would be next for me, but I did know I had been given a window, and it was up to me what to do with it. Would I spend this season losing myself in non-stop Netflix binge watching or saying yes to the opportunity to seize the moment? Though I went to bed filled with uncertainly, I somehow awoke filled with possibility. I sat straight up in my bed and said out loud, “now!”
There would be no more waiting. The time for an adventure had come! And it was now!
I immediately began to pull together a rough idea of what I had to work with and then began to dream. I knew I still had close to 50,000 frequent flier miles left from my years of travel in the music industry, which was enough to pay for a free round trip flight to somewhere. And I didn’t want to use them on just any destination. It needed to be somewhere special. I also quickly realized my passport was not only coming up for renewal in a couple months, but it was also full. Another product of my music days, I had traveled extensively and have a passport full of stamps, each one with it’s own stories, to show for it. So I sent off for a passport renewal right away.
Over the course of the next 4 weeks, I would dream, plan, imagine, pray, research and create what really was a dream trip.
I am excited to share that today I am leaving on the adventure of a lifetime to Scandinavia! I will be spending the next 5 weeks journeying through 4 countries in planes, trains, automobiles and boats!
I have chosen to call this adventure… Wandering Well.
I’ve come to realize some things in my short 40 years on this earth. One is that we really don’t know nearly as much as we like to think we do. We like to think we know where we’re going, how we’ll get there, what we’ll need, who we’ll need and what it’s all going to look like. But the truth is, we wander a great deal more than many of us are comfortable admitting. One foot in front of the other, step by step. We like to think we have it figured out, but we really don’t.
The more I thought about this, I realized there are 2 ways to wander. One is a quite aimless, self-unaware and generally wonder-less meandering approach to life. The other may look the same from the outside, but on the inside is quite different. To wander well is to be alive to what might be and not afraid to take the next step in that direction. It is to face each day poised to embrace all the possibility it may bring. It is wonder-filled reaching, dreaming and exploring that gives internal purpose to every external step.
So there it is.
Wandering Well. Taking a leap forward, arms and heart wide-open to what it may bring. With a carry-on and a backpack… my very own real-life Walter Mitty journey!
I am going to explore, experience new cultures, meet amazing people and stumble into what I know will be some incredible stories. I have no idea who or what I will encounter, but I am expectant this this experience will deepen my life in ways I can’t even imagine. I am going to wander. And wander well. Somewhat poetically, I suppose, with a brand new, empty passport in hand… every page a new possibility.
I’ll be documenting and sharing a lot of photos and stories from my trip along the way. I’ll be using the #WanderingWell hashtag and whether it is on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Periscope, you name it, I’ll be sharing my experiences from all the places I’ll visit with you and bring you into the stories as I find them.
Here are some of the places you can follow along:
Tumblr (where I’ll be posting the most): @jgrantjenkins
And of course, because every great story needs a great soundtrack, I have put together a Wandering Well playlist! 150 songs of adventure, bravery and courage… the perfect score to any “wandering well” journey, whether mine or yours.
Now, if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got a plane to catch!