When Traveling Wanderlust Feeds My Soul {Notes From A Blue Bike}

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My first ‘professional’ job out of college was on a bus and truck  musical theatre touring show (with some occasional flying).   We travelled across the US, Canada, and had sit-down short runs in Atlantic City and two major cities in Brazil.  I did not get paid much money at all, but having my hotel and per diem provided allowed for a comfortable and lovely way to travel and see the world.

We slept in cramped seats  and endured a month of one-nighters in almost twenty different cities.   We began to ask each other, ‘What town are we in again?’ each morning when we stepped off the bus.   We had time off in Montana and Wyoming, where we went horseback riding across the wide open plains.  We trekked to theaters in 3 feet of snow in Canada, and in our flip-flops from the beach in Florida.  We trekked up the Corcavado (the largest statue of Christ in the world, atop a Brazilian mountain) in Rio de Janeiro.   I got sicker in Brazil than I’ve ever been in another country, and used charades and hand motions to get medications from a Portuguese pharmacist.  I walked through Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and performed my first leading role with my Mom in the audience.

We–our motley crew of actors and musicians and technicians–formed close knit bonds that I hold dear to this day.  We admired the places we’d never been.  We went to Disneyworld.

People are willing to be brave when they admit their smallness within the enormity of the world, and the best way to understand our smallness is to leave our comfort zones and start exploring, one foot in front of the other.
~Tsh Oxenreider, Notes From A Blue Bike

In 2008, I spent 6 months traveling and living in China, on a New York based musical tour of The Sound of Music.    Asia and an ‘Eastern’ way of life had never been on my radar, but traveling through a Communist country with a band of artists and creatives was a recipe for sheer delight and exploration as we sang and performed our way around an amazing country.

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China pushed and stretched me.

Traveling with many fellow artists, but very few kindreds,  I took a lot of time both alone, and with a few dear friends exploring a country that was as foreign to me as it gets.    I walked up a mountain with the largest Buddha sculpture in the world carved inside it, and felt the presence of Jesus.  I worked through Beth Moore’s Bible study Believing  God, and prayed with another cast member who loved Jesus too.  I held a baby Siberian tiger with a friend.  I walked through alleyways and back roads with a backpack and a curious and excited spirit.  I put my feet in waters that framed the borders of China and Vietnam.   I watched the Beijing Olympic opening ceremonies with a fellow cast member and a generous and beautiful group of strangers in a Chinese tea shop, where we communicated with laughter, gestures and unspoken respect.

I looked for the division and staunchness I was told I would find, and found loving, open, and generous people in a foreign land.  I sang Rogers & Hammerstein songs next to a Chinese subtitle machine, and  felt the power of music transcend every type of barrier.  I worshipped in a Christian church with Chinese guards posted at the door, and every type of person and denomination and skin color in the pews, and tears of joy streamed down my face.   I felt the heat of a Chinese summer, so humid and suffocating, you could actually see a literal ‘heat haze’ in front of you.  On off day ferry boat trips from Macau, I unexpectedly fell in love with a city at the base of a mountain and the edge of an ocean–Hong Kong.

I’ve rambled on and on about my Asian travels, and I could write so much more about my time there.  I didn’t fully appreciate what that journey gave me until I was home on American soil, and could look back with an objective lens.  Looking back, it was probably one of the most fabulous jobs I’ve ever had.

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When I read  Notes From A Blue Bike, I was transported to Tsh Oxenreider’s world of intention, simplicity and in her beautiful words, “the liturgical, perfunctory parts of each of our lives…”   Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide – Tsh’s book reminds us how important intention is in our everyday lives, and how we can all learn to live a more simple, deliberate and sustained life without the cacophony of busyness and chaos that thrives in our culture daily.

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 Before my extensive touring travels, In Tsh’s words, “…I had hardly known a smell beyond that of my living room rug or the books at my school’s library.”  As a life long dreamer, I’ve pursued travel not only a source of joy, but as a way to see God, a vehicle for depth and growth, and an aid to my creativity.   While I understand that the means to travel is a privilege, I don’t think it has to be extravagant.  I think traveling economically is easier to do than we think.

This fall, Tsh and her family will take a once in a lifetime trip around the world that they have been planning and dreaming about for over seven years.   They will experience other cultures, life changing moments and day to day life in a way that most of us never will.  They will write out their stories and their life lessons so that others can glean from their travels.  They will inspire so many with their intentional way of life.

This book has reminded me in the best ways that my wanderlust for travel is innate and hired wired into my very being.  Travel helps me be creative and broadens my mind and heart.   Travel is as much a part of me as my roots and my home, though I think Tsh articulates it best.

Home may be where the heart is, but on the open road lie your five senses, and when you return to your heart, you’ll better see, smell and hear.
~Tsh Oxenreider

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{affiliate link used supports this blog, but all opinions, promotions and happy gushing about this book comes from moi.  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions, but no one told me to gush like I am.  If I could, I would buy this book up like candy to give to friends.} 

2 comments on “When Traveling Wanderlust Feeds My Soul {Notes From A Blue Bike}

  1. I got the book this week. I can’t wait to read it. You’ve had some amazing experiences : ) I love traveling too and particularly immersing in the culture.

    1. I think you’ll love the book Mimi! (I flew through it in a couple of days.) I loved the balance of memoir with her practical advice, that never feels pushy or stuffy. Living in the burbs, sometimes I have to write out and remember those experiences – I miss having them regularly! 🙂 Wish there was a job of constant travel. 🙂

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