My Own Prison

I had a revelation the other day.

A lot of my anxiety stems from my childhood and things that happened to me when I was a kid. I played sports from a very young age: basketball, softball, track and field, cheerleading. I was a clarinetist in marching and concert band, and I was involved with various school clubs (4H, JETS, etc.).

People might’ve thought I had a lot of friends, especially since I was an athlete, but I felt like the loneliest kid in the universe. I was an only-child, too, so I didn’t have siblings, and the kids in school were really cruel to me in elementary school and junior high. Some of them were abusive (mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically).

I’m not ready to talk about the trauma I experiened, but the point is, I never felt like I had a safe place to go. I carried all my fears around in my stomach, and I never found relief from that knotted-up feeling.

At home, I didn’t feel like I could talk about what was going on at school.

At school, I couldn’t let my guard down.

I was plagued by nightmares and night terrors throughout my childhood, so I found no relief in sleep.

I was so terrified of the dark I would wrap myself in all my sheets and blankets until I felt like I was suffocating, and I dreaded walking down the hallway at night.

In high school, I found more acceptance, but I was already traumatized. By the time I reached adulthood, my heart automatically expected more of the same – more rejection, more betrayal, more ostracizing.

More abuse.

Carrying around all that fear, worry, and anxiety became a natural part of my existence, and I’ve realized – I need to forgive the kids who bullied me. I need to forgive the teachers who allowed it to go on. I need to forgive a lot of people, and I probably need to ask for a lot of forgiveness, myself.

See, the brokenness in those people created brokenness in me. And the brokenness in me perpetuated that cycle of brokenness in others.

Brokenness breeds brokenness. But freedom births freedom.

Written in February 2014
from a hotel in the Dominican Republic

This wasn’t a touristy region of the DR, and the hotel had burglar bars and even metal gates that staff could shut and lock if a threat ever arose (gangs, armed criminals, etc).

I find it ironic that this place was like a small prison and how, at the time, I was processing through childhood trauma that had been imprisoning me most of my life.

I hadn’t thought it that way at the time. Looking back, I see the deeper symbolism…

Review of CROWDSOURCING PARIS

I love all things travel, esp when it involves Paris. This book CROWDSOURCING PARIS follows a cautious writer as he accomplishes 12 adventures his followers have chosen for him to do while in the City of Light. I love the way the author JH Bunting weaves a little French history into his storytelling, & there are gems throughout that make me laugh out loud, along with moments that cause me to marvel at his vulnerability.

“Paris ruins you, makes you vain, makes you drink expensive bits of coffee in tiny cups, makes you talk about yourself. Hypothesis: Perhaps I was vain before Paris. I just didn’t have as much to brag about.” Wow! Haven’t we all been there? These places bring out another side of us sometimes, for better or worse.

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I love checking out crowdsourced projects. I love seeing what’s being offered for our investment, and I adore that we have this means of making people’s dreams come true. This is how the author got to Paris, and the adventures he accomplishes (akin to bold dares in some instances) are hilarious and even cringe-worthy (in a good way!). It’s neat to see the author overcome fear, hesitation, & ultimately himself. I’ve had profound revelations as I’ve read through this, one in particular about overcoming fear and how the fear may never fully leave but that you have to choose to step past it.

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Crowdsourcing Paris is a quick read, & it’s so good, a must-have for anyone who’s been to Paris or who wants to go. Visit this link and see for yourself. Or click the CROWDSOURCING PARIS book below:

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This is Bolivia

Bolivia’s tough. It’s a landlocked country, and most of it sits at about 4000 meters above sea level (that’s 12,000 feet, or 2.5 miles). Do you know how hard it is to breathe at that altitude? I didn’t!

Allow me to paint a picture.

Uyuni is where I resided for a month while in Bolivia. It’s in the Potosi department in the south, and it sits on the cusp of Salar de Uyuni (the largest salt flats in the world).

This is a desert region, barren — like being on the moon or in a dusty old ghost town (except this place is populated.

The temperature in Uyuni is hard to describe. The sun will scorch your skin during the day, but because the altitude is so high, the weather is not particularly hot. Rather, the sun can still feel warm on you, but the air is still cold. I actually ended up getting THE WORST sun blisters all over my mouth when I was there. Why? Because I didn’t put on sunblock at 10:00 in the morning. YES. I said ten in the morning. 

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That’s not a trick of the light. My face is red, and the sunblisters showed up the very next day en force!

As far as the temperature, it vacillated by about 60 degrees between night and day. Between that and the lack of rain, the altitude, the dusty desert air, several of us got sick.

The housing situation wasn’t the easiest, either, with seven of us sharing the toilet with the house owner and her husband, plus the two families living in the back of the property. The toilet, of course, didn’t flush (we had to pour water to flush it manually). That’s pretty common throughout Latin America. Also, no toilet seats (fair warning!).

To take showers, it was either walk a mile to the public restrooms/showers or take a bucket shower at home (time-consuming and not easy to accomplish while sharing a single outhouse with so many people).

Despite these circumstances, I actually LOVED Uyuni. Bolivia was my favorite country of the three I visited in South America (Peru and Ecuador being the other two), and a ton of backpackers and tourists go through there to see the salt flats.

Here are some other reasons I loved Bolivia:

The people! I love the people! The government isn’t a big fans of Americans (or any non-communist nation, really), but the people are warm and welcoming.

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Our friend took us out for breakfast in Uyuni

The weather was always sunny while I was there, every single day (I went in March, which is their autumn).

You can find some gems for eating, and there are a lot of great tours on the salt flats — be sure to stop by Hotel Tonito and Minuteman Pizza when you’re in Uyuni!

The landscape is incredible, especially out on the salt flat. It really is like being on the moon or on some other world.

When the altitude got to be too much, they have te that helps. And it’s good with honey, yum.

One word: salchipapas. These are fries with either bits of hotdog or another meat, usually with a fried egg. It’s street food and makes a great snack.  

The country has two capitals (sort of): La Paz and Sucre. One is the executive and legislative seats of their government, the other is the constitutional capital. But still. Kinda cool, huh? And I can tell you firsthand, La Paz is a really neat place with MASSIVE mountains around the city.

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All right, so even though I felt like this some of the time while I was in Bolivia…

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Sam just keepin’ real when we found out 10 of us were sharing 1 outhouse

And there might’ve been some of this…

There was also a lot of this

And in the end, I felt like this, and I definitely want to go back…