Mystery Of The Unknown

fear-title2You know that panic feeling you get sometimes when you feel out of control. You know, it comes in the middle of the night and you wake abruptly, believing that a giant spider is lowering itself down on your head! Yeah, me too.

I studied communications at UW Milwaukee back in the 90’s and one of the theories we studied was the Uncertainty Reduction Theory. It was developed in 1975 by Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese, is a communication theory from the post-positivist tradition. The basic gist is that people have a need to reduce uncertainty about others by gaining information about them. Using verbal communication, nonverbal expressiveness, information-seeking behavior, intimacy, reciprocity, similarity, and “liking” we gain information about another person or a society. What is learned allows for one to feel a sense of control, which may lead to feeling connected.

We all do it. Uncertainty is unpleasant and therefore motivational; people communicate to reduce it. We are comfortable in relationship or society when we can predict or explain it. The idea of entering the mystery of the unknown is just not our natural disposition.

As we get closer to ditching the bus, We have been weeding through irrational fears. Personally, I’m consumed with gathering information about some of the places we are going to, so as to feel more secure, safe and comfortable when we get there. The fact is however, that I might find a sense of security by researching and I might have a great track record assimilating into new experiences. I might have good intuition and be able to read situations but ultimately I have no control. And as soon as, I admit that fact, the fear I’m struggling with looses power and I find a peace that goes before me.

People ask, are you scared of running into unrest in some of the countries you’re going to? They ask, are you scared of being a target or someone trying to kidnap your children? Are you nervous about not being able to speak the languages and getting ripped off? Are you worried about not having modern amenities or getting sick? Then, they usually follow-up the question with a story they have heard about someone who had some traumatic  experience over seas and what to look out for in those places.

All of those questions are fear based and I’ll admit we’ve asked them too. We live in a culture that is driven by comfort and security. Yes, we want to be comfortable and secure but we have found that as we question our cultural construct and push past our natural instincts, that we are able to see something more to this life. No longer do comfort and security sit in the forefront of our existence but rather faith and adventure have risen to the top. Faith that God goes before us, weaving us together with humanity for the purpose of exchanging gifts and talents, so that those we meet along the way would see that reconciliation and restoration to both God and others, including their enemy is actually possible. And, adventure has allowed us to see the Glory of God in all it’s splendor, from the beauty of creation and the diversity of nature, to meeting people from all walks of life, learning and gleaning wisdom from them about God’s faithfulness in their culture and traditions.

We are willing to give up much of our comforts and security because we trust we are right where we are supposed to be, breathing in every moment. And, if for some unseen reason, tragedy were to come our way, our hope would be in the one who has brought us on this grand adventure of life. Of course, we will continue to work out this sense of uncertainty, as its human nature. However, we hold tightly to our unbreakable spiritual lifeline. We know that grounding is the only thing that will make any sense in times of trouble.

What’s that old hymn, My hope is built on nothing less…

I’m sure that will be ringing in our ears as we continue forward.

~We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.~ Hebrews Author Unknown, but probably is Priscilla. 🙂

The Wayfaring Family

Social media is a basic necessity for us in our travels. It is a lifeline for staying connected with our hosts, venues, fellow travelers, and friends. We use WordPress as a journal/newsletter about our travels, bus life, healthcare, homeschooling, spiritual insights and the inner workings of our family life. We use Facebook to communicate about our music. We also have a private group there that we can share our most intimate prayer needs and requests. We have an Instagram that we share daily pictures of our adventures, and a Twitter that we use in tandem with them all. We have found our Instagram and Twitter great places to connect with fellow travelers, homeschoolers, food science, & social justice minded kinfolk. The Wayfaring Family is no exception. I met Anne via Twitter and with in our first few interactions we were plotting out a visit.

The Wayfaring Family’s profile reads, “Encouraging family travel, Just returned from a Round The World trip. If we can do it so can you!”

They are The Helmer’s, a typical American family of four. They are small business owners, hyper scheduled, over involved in sports and school activities. And they have a four pound dog and two cats to care for. How could they possibly up and leave? They dared to dream. Things all worked out and everything was there when they got back.

Their adventures are detailed on our their blog but a quick run down is they drove across the USA, Rafted the Colorado River, sold our their car in LA. Flew to Guatemala. Lived in Antigua for a glorious Month. Flew toPeru. Visited the Amazon for two weeks, Machu Picchu and Lima. Flew to Fiji. Then Three weeks in New ZealandSix Weeks in Australia. Bali for Christmas. Kuala LumpurBorneo for several weeks. Singapore, then Thailand and then on to Africa. Dubai then Spain. Six weeks in Italy, then Austria, Germany, Holland, France and England.

You can read their full story:

IMG_9531We were super excited to meet them and this past Tuesday pulled into their Lexington driveway for a one night stay. We were greeted by Anne, her 12 yr old son Lee, Random and Mia, the cats and their nine pound living legend, Buddy the dog.

Anne offered a cold glass of water which was graciously accepted and we hit the ground running. There is an instant kinship that happens when we meet fellow travelers, specially families who have live outside the norm for any period of time. The two boys immediately hit it off and within the hour announced that they were brothers. We talked about they dynamics of raising children on the road, moments of struggle but mostly the victories we saw when our children’s eyes open and minds expand. We talked about logistics because everyone does it differently and there is so much to learn from our fellow travelers.

Later, Anne’s husband, David and their 16 yr old daughter Laney arrived and jumped right into conversation. David shared about his job as a lawyer and desire for a change. The travel was just the catalyst for that change and as soon as they arrived home he got busy with a few start-ups, including a mediation business. He really lit up when sharing his desire to use his talents and experience volunteering with a justice project that focuses on mediation within his city, helping to bridge the gap that comes when a neighborhood that was once deemed less desirable becomes the target of capitalism. It was encouraging to hear how travel had inspired them all, infusing them with purpose and a compassion for humanity.

Later that evening, the Helmer’s hosted a gathering, inviting many of their friends down to David’s office where we performed a Hollands! set, enjoyed local pizza and conversation. It was our first performance with our new travelers/bus riders, Rhys and Sylvia. They did great job filling in on vocals and bass, and jumped right to community life, connecting with those who came to hear and meet us. It’s in these sorts of moments that I sit back and I am in awe of how we got here. Just one little tweet and here we were meeting this amazing family and singing sweet songs to them.

The next morning offered breakfast, more conversation, and a quick stroll around the neighborhood before we had to head south to Nashville.  Until next time Wayfarers!

The Wayfaring Family