Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.Mark Twain
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.Henry Miller
I just arrived home from a trip to Sweden/Finland/Denmark and I feel like I’ve come back to life after a long dark winter. Part of that was that winter literally just ended and we’re witnessing a glorious opening to spring. Yet a larger part was that I learned
- I can actually leave my children for a week (and yes, I know they are all over 18, but it still tears my heartstrings to leave).
- I love spending time with Erik– he’s just the most fun.
- The world is a kinder and more generous place than it looks like on the news.
- God truly loves all His children all over the world.
And you can roll your eyes and tell me those are all truths I should have written on my heart (or you can tell me I sound like an airline ad) but I think I’ve spent the last several months gritting my teeth, clenching my fingernails into my palms, repeating “God is good” while thinking, “But He sure let’s a lot of awful things happen in the world…”
Maybe you think it’s strange I’m viewing the world as a kind and charitable place, when we are witnessing wars and injustices and natural disasters? True. Still, I was inspired by the compassion and generosity I saw in every corner of Scandinavia (and a long layover in Germany).
On every corner, on billboards and posters and announcements in the train stations, I saw bins for donation to refugees, ways to give money, time and expertise to those in need. In conversations, I heard words of sympathy not only for Ukrainians displaced by war, but for the thousands of Russians also fleeing their homeland.
I saw church groups gathering not only food and necessities, but toys and instruments, cozy blankets and card games. I listened to newscasters who spoke with respect and kindness. Yes, there are evil people in the world, yet I am convinced there are more good, kind, generous people. Especially when we set prejudices and selfishness aside (it’s well worth checking out @mdbglobalmom‘s Instagram posts about Germany’s response to refugees).
We also ate a lot of pastries,
visited Erik’s Danish cousins,
visited gorgeous yarn shops,
and found lots of cute things for the babies.
I took photos of lots of folk art that I’m going to replicate in the basement and reveled in listening to Erik and his cousin’s memories and stories of his second homeland. His mom emigrated from Denmark in the 60s.
We also spent an incredible weekend in Finland which deserves it’s own post.
Our trip also included the usual hassles, unexpected expenses and delays. (I left 24 hours after Erik because a United staffer didn’t like my vaccination record, but I always see those as part of the adventure.)
Home again, the world feels like a kinder, brighter place. So many tasks around the house and in my life now seem clearer, easier. I have dozens of creative plans and I’m less worried about my place in the world. It’s small– but I can make it beautiful.
As much as I talk about travel and love exploring the world, I still love home more than any place on earth. I’m dusting off the cobwebs, throwing open the windows and looking forward to the days and weeks unrolling before me.
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.Aldous Huxley
If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.Cesare Pavese
Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.Gustave Flaubert
I feel like cheering when I see these pictures!! What an amazing trip for you both! Part of my heart is in those countries (my mom is from Finland, and my ancestry that’s not Finnish is primarily Swedish). Then, my husband has tons of Danish blood. Hurrah hurrah! Seriously beautiful pictures, and I love all the quotes about traveling. I am totally with you on noticing the good and the loving! I just finished an 8-week Cultivating Compassion course that my sister teaches, and one of my biggest takeaways from the class was to look for the ways humans take care of other humans and the ways they are good to each other. When I started doing that about a month ago, it blew me away! I see and hear about the love everywhere now. I notice parents working patiently with special needs kids in the grocery stores. I hear about the woman in my ward collecting money for suitcases to order on the Polish Amazon website to be distributed to refugees. I see adult children walking slowly with aging parents. I watched my son put his arm out to the blind boy in his choir. The LOVE is everywhere. People are SO good. I am SO SO happy you went on such a special trip!! xoxox