This. Year.

Now that I am 16 days into 2018, I thought that it was time (and a bit overdue) for me to share the adventures that this year has already brought to me. Now, from one traveler to another, brace yourself for this profound truth:

Travel begins at home.

Did you get that? It sounds contradictory to what is thought of when mentioning the word "travel." But it's true, nonetheless. Travel literally means to make a journey. And more than likely, similar to myself, you made your first travel journey within your hometown. A friend's house. Your backyard. The movie theater. A new restaurant. A sporting event.

And so, for the first few days of 2018, I traveled back to my roots--my hometown of Savannah, Georgia. I took in the familiar sights and smells of marsh grass and high tides. I allowed my 8 or so hour drive draw me back to the familiar and not so familiar place where I unearthed the longing to see the world. From the Spanish moss, to the forever southern hospitality. To the martinis at the infamous Chatham Club, and the roots of my Christian faith found along the twisting roads of Isle of Hope. To my grandmother's buttermilk biscuits and gravy and the early morning walks with my mother, I allowed myself to go deep into this first traveling adventure.

And somewhere along the few days that I was there, my heart once again realized that home is where our journey begins. It is in the everyday moments that spur our hearts to take risks, to leave the familiar, as well as to appreciate it. Like I searched for the perfect oyster on the oyster beds as a child, so home has become the perfect oyster to my individual world. For some, home was the place to escape from because of the negative memories associated with it. But the beautiful thing about home is that through the negative, the positive, the good, the bad, and the ugly, it reveals to us the wonder of travel. It has given us the gift of having courage to see from a new perspective.

I've always been a fan of flying because it allows me to go above the clouds and to see the earth from another perspective. And I believe that my first traveling journey of 2018--back to Savannah, Georgia, gifted me with this outlook (written only a few days into the new year):

Embrace all of who you are. The awesome. The not so awesome. And all the in between. Own it. Embrace the small imperfections. The cracks. Take the time to laugh. To enjoy the unexpected moments that come your way. Choose joy above all—even in the midst of pain. But own each moment and feeling. Choose to forgive quickly. Let go of what you can’t control. Listen. Hear people. Hear their hearts. And if you don’t understand, try to. Remember that we’re all human. All flawed. But all each with a gift to give. See those whom you cross paths with as a gift and not a burden. Embrace conflict and disagreements. Learn from those moments. Don’t hide from the uncomfortable, but run towards it. Challenge yourself. Take a risk. Relax. Enjoy the small victories, for they are larger than you think. Embrace beauty. Believe in second chances. Hope. But always love.
This. Is. Your. Year.

Embrace it.

The journey home reminded me of the beauty that we daily have around us. From the Eiffel Tower to the Taj Mahal. To the African safaris, to the Australian outback. All the way to your front door: travel is there. Taste and see.