My Travels Thus Far

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

My imagination has been stirred and encouraged to view the world as it is through traveling worldwide.  Rooted in a family heritage of immigrants, as well has having volunteered in developing countries, has instilled a mindset of working hard to provide for myself, cherishing family, and a love for self-choice and freedom.

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The Rhine River, Germany

Beginning the daughter of a German immigrant woman, I have seen the world through a European lens as I have traveled to Germany several times since I was nine months old to see my family who still resided there.  Originating from poor village farmers and shoe cobblers, my mother’s family lives simply in the village they have lived in for generations.  Germany conjugates smells of freshly baked bread, livestock, and the grassy smells of meadows while stirring up images of my Oma’s (aka Grandma) cold, musty cellar, 2:00pm Coffee und Kuchen, and a tightly-woven community where everyone has known one another for generations.  Live in the country where my grandparents resided is lived simply and with a simplistic love for family.  Happiness is not found in material riches or economic status but the relationships an individual has.  Image

In 2009, I partook of a mission’s trip with my university to the community surrounding Jaguar Creek, Belize.  There for one short week, my team and I partnered with Pathlight Internationl ministries to teach in English, music, arts and crafts, and photography in three local schools as well as work in a local orphanage with repairs.  The work I performed those short seven days was the most rewarding thing I had done up until that point.  I was truly blessed by God and what He was doing through our team.  What my team was doing began to set the wheels in my mind turning and began to make me think as to what I wanted to do career-wise.  In that week, I realized that I wanted to do something meaningful and impactful with my Public Policy degree.  I did not want to solely be passing laws or working with governments and administration.  I desired to see, have, smell, touch, feel, and love the people I was impacting as well as having the opportunity and ability to change their lives in a positive way by seeing them have opportunities to better lives and those of their families.

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.”

– Moorish proverb

Cambodia

A humanitarian issue that breaks my heart is that of human trafficking, which devalues human life.  The summer leading up to my junior year of college I traveled to Cambodia with a team from my university where we spent some time working with an amazing organization, Agape International Missions, to work with children who are sold by their parents nightly into brothels for money.  What an emotionally charged trip for me!  I witnessed actual trafficking incidents, taught English lessons to sexually trafficked Kingergardeners, and loved the sweet children of the community we were in.  How could one culture hate itself so much that it devalued its own children into mere commodities to be sold on a black market for money?   By understanding the history of Cambodia, I was able to understand, in part, the foundation for such actions.  I came to understand that the foundation for human trafficking in any country will vary (yet contain some overlapping issues) yet at the core is humanity’s lack of the sanctity of life because they do not know the love of Christ.  Witnessing sexual trafficking firsthand sickened me to my core yet steeled my resolve to do everything in my power to create awareness so that this issue could be stopped!

House of Representatives
U.S. Capital
Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., a city rich with history, multicultural facets, and addicting nightlife, is the center of politics for the United States.  It was here that I spent eight weeks of my last summer in college interning at one of the most esteemed political magazines in the country while gaining edifying lectures at the prestigious Georgetown University.  I was thrilled to be traveling here for two primary reasons, the first being that I had never been to the East Coast.  My love for travel, coupled with the history that htis particular subculture holds, fueled my ambition to apply to the internship.  Secondly, I had desired an intern position in our nation’s capital since high school and finally had the opportunity fulfill a lifelong dream.  Working and learning in Washington, D.C., not only enriched my writing repertoire but exposed my self to the deep correlation between politics and reporting. Looking back, I feel as though I had a crash-course in various political ideologies, different religious beliefs, and ethnic/cultural lifestyles.

Salamanca, Spain

Finally, my most recent travel experience has been to Spain where I enjoyed a week long honeymoon excursion in Madrid, Salamanca, and Sagvia.  The rich intellectual, political, economic, and religious history of this country was seen throughout its architecture, cultural lifestyle, and social structure.  It was also fascinating to see how Spain’s history has influenced other countries, particularly the United States’s exploration and colonization, as well as its current influences in politics and money.

I hope to continue traveling so as to see reality as it truly is while understanding and assigning immense value to humanity.

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Raise Her Ransom

Although this is from earlier this year, it is still applicable to today and the need to ransom individuals out of sex trafficking!

Agape International Missions (AIM) is a wonderful non-profit organization devoted to combating and abolishing sex trafficking around the world, particularly in Cambodia.  I had the privilege of doing research for them for about a year and would encourage everyone to help out in this cause in someway.  Visit agapewebsite.org to find out more information on what AIM does and how you can get involved.

For Better or For Worse

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Two months ago, I made a lifelong commitment. It was easy to speak the words after the pastor. But in thinking about what those words meant, and how I was enacting a covenant, the words seemed surreal.

I, Anna, take you, C.Jay, to be my husband–I was pledging to take my best friend as a partner along this journey called life.  By vowing to take C.Jay as my spouse I was agreeing to a holy and divinely-established covenant ordained by God (Malachi 2:14).  I was publicly declaring a commitment to a covenant relationship; a covenant commitment before God and men.  As a Christian, I was agreeing to enter a spiritual representation of the Church’s relationship with God.

to have and to hold from this day forward–I am claiming the precious gift that God is giving me: my husband. “To have and to hold” declares the love I have for my spouse and choosing to cling to it, regardless of what may occur.

for better or for worse–One our way to honeymoon in Spain, C.Jay and I had a 10 hour layover in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  We were both exhausted from the wedding and hadn’t gotten much sleep on the flight.  But we did not want to spend money on a hotel room for a few short hours so we decided to “brave it” and tour the city until our next flight left.  The latter portion of “for better or for worse” was poignantly clear as the two of us squabbled and complained about one another for the majority of the layover.  Looking back, however, “the worse” part of our traveling became one of the “better” moments for us as we laugh at how childish we both were in our fatiguness!

for richer, for poorer– This clause of our vows looms ahead of us to see how we respond.

in sickness and in health–On our honeymoon in Spain, I experienced a seizure alongside severe heartburn and acid reflex.  To say the least, the “in sickness and in health” portion of our vows was quickly put to the test!

to love and to cherish–My husband and I have been having fun learning what the various forms of “to love and to cherish” are.  ‘Love’ and ‘cherish’ are not exclusive of (physical) intimacy but extend to cleaning up a spill on the kitchen counter, putting our shoes in the closet hallway or speaking an encouraging word.

from this day forward until death do us part–I look forward to becoming old and grey-haired with C.Jay.  “Until death do us part” may come as quickly as tomorrow or delay 50 years but, whatever the time period, I delight in the life partner Christ has bestowed upon me.