I did not mean for it to happen, but last weekend my soul was fed.
I attended a conference for travel writers. Before leaving, I was focused on the conference part of the invitation, and unintentionally ignored the “Travel Writer” part. I thought long and hard about going, and decided to reply “no” for this year. “Maybe next year” I thought, “when things are calmer and I am better at what I do”.
I had lots of good reasons for declining; the conference was clear across the country, my kids are little, and we have recently moved (also clear across the country). Opting out was legitimate, reasonable, and justified.
“Jen,” my husband said “I’ve got this. You go. This is a real opportunity and you have no idea what will come from it.” He appealed to the part of me that knows saying “yes” propels life, so I went.
“I don’t know anyone” I thought as I left. “These are real writers and they are so much better than me. What could I possibly give them? What will I even say?!”
Something overtook me though, a force or innate knowledge (if I call it intuition some will read flaky), and I grew confident in my decision to attend. Before the wheels of the 757 lifted, I knew I was headed in the right direction.
Travel Writers Know About a Whole Lot More than Travel
Here is what nobody tells you about travel writers; they say “yes”. To everything.
Do you want to stand in hurricane force winds and rain at the bottom of Niagara Falls?” “Yes.”
“Do you want to ride jet boats through class 5 rapids of The Niagara River and be completely submerged in waves?” “Yes.”
“Do you want to walk through a haunted trail in the rain with candles as your only light to a castle where a headless ghost dwells?” “Yes.”
“In heels?” “Yes.”
What fed my soul last weekend was being in “yes”. The individuals I was with opt-in to life authentically, intentionally, and easily. This mentality extends to people, thoughts, and friendships. They have opened themselves in a way that allows them to live fully- or at least more fully than I have been living.
The Day My Soul Was Stirred
What last weekend gave me is a deep soul stirring- one that conjured up memories of world travel and living big locally. It reminded me that life is participatory, and that we need to shake things up when they feel stale. The new friendships and acceptance by these successful writers did not build my confidence. Rather, they inspired me to explore and honor my potential, to be authentic with my voice, and to celebrate my unique contribution to the world- through writing, playing, and parenting.
Most importantly, this weekend confirmed my commitment to LIVING! with my kids. I want them to live as I did this weekend. I want them to see the excitement in new people and places, and to experience the fullness that comes from real acceptance of themselves and others.
Gratitude is an accurate word for me being included in the TMS Family Travel Conference this past weekend, but my feelings run so much deeper… my soul has been opened back up and I am ready to see the world again. For travel writers, I cannot imagine better words to read.
A massive thank you to Niagara USA for the warmest of welcomes, and for showing us your city, perfect for LIVING! in. Here is just one of the ways we had fun in Niagara Falls, USA: