A prayer for travel

by Kim on February 23, 2011 · 14 comments

A Prayer For Travel

I don’t want to freak anyone out or anything, but I have a confession.  Someway, somehow, and against pretty much all odds, I have started praying.

I know, I know.  There is such a stigma attached to that word! 

But let me explain. 

I do it before I fall asleep, while I’m lying in the darkness, slowly releasing myself from the day.  I don’t say “Dear God” or “Our Father who Art in Heaven” or anything like that.  But I do say “thankyouthankyouthankyou” and sometimes I say “pleasepleaseplease” and when I’m done I feel a little bit of peacefulness in the center of myself, which is a feeling I have come to know as a sign that I am moving in the right direction. 


For a long time if you would have asked me if I believed in God, I would have said no, or possibly maaaaayyybeeee, and been all flippant and non-committal about it.  Even then, I knew deep down that that wasn’t the truth.  But I wasn’t yet able to separate God from religion, and I sure knew that religion wasn’t my thing, and so God became a buzz word for everything I didn’t believe in: oppression, discrimination, righteousness, hate. 

And yet, even while I was rejecting the idea of God, I believed, as I always had, that there was some greater force at work.  As a kid, growing up in a tumultuous home, I’d lay in bed at night listening to my parents fight.  I’d be terrified, and then an overwhelming sense of calm would come over me and I’d know without a doubt that I would be okay (and I was).  As a teenager, I’d smoke cigarettes on the back porch until 3 or 4 in the morning and in the calm, star-studded darkness I would feel something welling up inside of me that felt connected to the whole of the universe.  Now, as an adult, I feel it when I run miles and miles into the woods or hike into the mountains, a powerful sense of being completely alive and blessed. 

It wasn’t until recently when I attended a play about the Native American legend of the Bridge of the Gods that I found a word that suited me.  The Klickitats called the force that guided them The Great Spirit, a supreme being, a guide of spiritual wisdom.  When I heard it I thought, that’s it!  A name I feel comfortable with.  A word I can get behind.  Surely, it’s no different than God or Buddha or Allah or whoever else you might pray to.  But for me, The Great Spirit makes sense, and when I lay in bed at night, that is who I’m speaking to.

And what does any of this have to do with traveling?  Well, nothing really, but also a whole, whole lot.  Because, when I finally made the decision to follow my dream of writing and traveling my world sort of shifted, like I was plucked by the back of my shirt by a giant hand and flicked out into the world on a completely different trajectory.  And since then, all of these other things that I only vaguely knew were missing have shown up at my door and invited themselves in. 

I’m writing this post for my own sake, to document all of the unexpected experiences that are popping up along this road.  But I’m writing it for you, too, in case you are thinking of following your own dream, whatever it may be.  I’m saying this is what is happening to me.  There’s no roadmap here.  I’m writing it as I go.