Good evening from College Town, USA! It’s feels like it’s been about 100 years since I’ve blogged and you all, my faithful readers, deserve better than that.
Last time I posted, I recounted how I ended up going to Panama City instead of the mountains on account of some awful weather.
Well, we did exactly that. My friend and I left at around 12:40 a.m. eastern time and arrived in bright and sunny Panama City Beach around 9 a.m. with no sleep, our camping equipment, some board shorts, and next to no food (No, seriously, we ate dried fruit and beef jerky for four days). We checked into our campground, the Raccoon River Campground at 1 p.m. after a short nap on the (ever-so-windy) beachfront and decided to set up camp. If you enjoy camping, a good time, and the beach, I strongly recommend camping at the Raccoon River Campground. It’s about a 3 minute walk to a pier/beachfront access and it is right across the street from the beach. Plus, it’s only $28.13 a night for primitive tent camping– my absolute favorite. Ya can’t beat that!
In short, we spent time at the beach, weathered two insane, flooding storms overnight in our tent, got really sunburnt, saw lots of crazy places, and met a lot of crazy people. Mainly Canadians. (Eh?)
The people you meet at campgrounds are always among the most entertaining of subjects to discuss after your trip is over. My friend and I discussed, almost the entire way home, the people we had met.
We camped next to a 55 year old man from Canada, We’ll call him Bill. Bill had recently been divorced. What did Bill decide to do? He sold his house and pretty much everything he owns, quit his job, bought a 27 foot long yacht, and decided to drive, yes, drive himself 27 hours from Canada to become a certified sailor/boat mechanic so him and his brother can sail all around the world. My friend and I had many a conversation with Bill, and we learned a lot from each other, I believe. Bill was the type of free spirit that this world needs more of.
We met spring breakers from Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, and countless other places. We ran into college drop-outs traveling the country, a cross-country team from Iowa that was there to “train” (yeah… right), and all the left over Canadians from winter season.
Going back to Bill, I started to think about the idea of our comfort zone… the idea of safety. Our society (That being, American society), has become obsessed with the idea of safety. Our society encourages comfort in your belongings, safety in what you own. Bill had completely removed himself from his comfort zone, sold his belongings in which he used to find comfort, giving up what he had to fulfill what is, as he told us, a dream he has had since he was a boy.
Living in comfort can be a wonderful thing, the borderline worship of safety, however, is not. Greatness is not born out of, cannot be born out of, a safe place. Safety is the place where there is an absence of risk-taking. When you are safe, there is no need to be great, no need to exceed your capabilities and become a better person, no need to take risks for your personal benefit, and it’s all because you are comfortable where you are.
That’s a dangerous mentality.
I lived in Brazil last summer. Specifically, São Paulo. I visited Rio de Janeiro (Minha Cidade Maravilhosa) and Belo Horizonte as well. Not a day went by without at least two handfuls of awkward situations, misunderstandings, or getting lost. I loved every second of it. I was out of my comfort zone each and every day. What did that teach me to do? It taught me to rely completely on God. Each day I woke up and gave even the smallest things to Him and I enjoyed every second I had while I was there. Some days I was so tired it was hard to put my left foot in front of my right, and vice versa. Every day, God was showing me something new about myself, teaching me my limits, then teaching me to push past them. What an amazing feeling that was. And it’s all because I was outside of my comfort zone.
Now, that is not to say that I felt unsafe while I was there. The entire time I was there I had no problems (I was, however, smart and careful, which is absolutely necessary when traveling anywhere in the world). As many people complain about the issue of crime in Brazil and violence (Yes, it is there), I had no problems with such things. Brazil is a beautiful country (Read: The most beautiful country in the world) with incredible people, beautiful geography, and phenomenal potential. It is truly a blessed place. God has put a special place in my heart (Read: my whole heart) for Brazil– It is my passion.
If I had made the decision not to give every day over to God while I was there, I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much.
Bill found his Brazil, and shared his stories with us, just as we shared ours with him. That was by far my favorite part of the trip. I learned a lot about myself through discussions with people we met there, namely with Bill.
Now, that’s all I’ve got for tonight. However, if you have any questions about traveling in Brazil or about my trip, travel tips, things like that, feel free to contact me! Also– be looking for an update to the Cars//Minicars section here soon (Tonight… maybe?). The post was long, I know, but hopefully it made for good reading– hopefully it inspired you to get out of your comfort zone.