Earlier this morning, I read that spending trends among Americans are changing. Rather than buying things (which we all did a lot of over the past year), Americans are buying experiences (which we did very little of in 2020). People are realizing that they have enough stuff but not enough experiences. People are not only ready to get out of their house (and out of their pajamas and sweatpants) but to get out into the world.
I’m always amazed by those who have little but live a lot. By that, I mean those who sell everything and buy a sailboat or an RV and live life as one grand adventure. A few years ago, friends took their four small children (and I mean really small–ages 3-9) on a sailboat trip around the world for a year. I can’t even imagine that! Ken was enthralled and talks often about selling everything and living the rest of our lives visiting one campground after another.
I love to travel and camp and have adventures, but I need a home base. I need the comfort of a house that I can return to where I can sleep in my own bed and cook in my own kitchen and work in my own office. I need to be grounded. I depend upon the familiar, but it’s more than that. I love knowing that family is close by and being able to see them. I don’t like to go for long without being with my parents or my brothers and their families. I want that in-person hug or conversation. While I love my house and its familiar comforts, I don’t get the people who are still at home, unbothered by not having seen family or friends for over a year.
Having said that, you all know how I love a good adventure! I’m planning some adventures right now for later in the year, one being a trip to the Holy Land. I’ll be leading about two dozen pilgrims on what truly will be the trip of a lifetime. We will walk in the footsteps of Elijah on Mount Carmel, walk along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and walk the Via Delarosa to Calvary. We will be immersed in scripture and share time in prayer. It will be life-changing for everyone. The Holy Land a place I love to return to in person and in my mind. Though it’s far from home, it gives me that comfort and that grounding that I need because it’s not about the place. It’s about the experience, one of introspection and spirituality and community and love.
I think this is why so many are traveling and seeking adventures that make them feel something deep inside. For over a year, we’ve been consumed with sickness and death and despair. We’ve been trapped not just inside our homes but inside our minds. So many are ready to break out, to breathe fresh air, to see amazing sites, to reach beyond their own existence. But I have to wonder…
When they return, will they be satisfied? Will their adventures have changed them, made them better, made them see the world differently, or see themselves differently?
This is what a trip to the Holy Land does. It changes everything. Nobody can go there, unless they have their mind set otherwise, and return as the same person. A pilgrimage is the ultimate adventure, for if done right, it creates in you a new person and gives you a whole new life. And I think that’s what so many are actually longing for right now. They need to escape from this world, to feel things and see things differently, to find meaning and purpose, and begin to become the persons they are meant to be.
Sadly, most people will miss this. They will have a wonderful and exciting trip, perhaps sky diving or cliff jumping or zip lining through a forest, but will they be forever changed, or will they go back to living the same old life, wondering why they still don’t feel fulfilled?
We’ve all been given the chance to see the world from the other side of a closed door. We’ve seen what life is like when there seems to be little hope, when death surrounds us, perhaps touches us and our families, when we hide behind a mask and keep our distance from everyone and everything. I think most of us would agree that the life we lived in 2020 was not much of a life at all. It was lonely. It was dark. It was scary. It was what life is like every single day for those who have no hope, no faith, and no understanding of what awaits on the other side of death.
If you’re trying to find something. If you’re seeking answers. If you’re lonely or afraid or feeling hopeless, don’t despair. There is a grand adventure waiting. There is more to this life than things and even more than human experiences. The greatest and most thrilling adventure you could ever have or imagine having here on earth is nothing compared to what is to come for those who believe. Now that the masks are off and the doors are open, see what the real adventure is all about. Take God’s hand and let Him lead you onward to a life that will be more than you ever imagined. For “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Attention Marylanders! Have your children or grandchildren read my book, Crabbing With Granddad? If not, buy it now, and read it to them this summer. Then join the “Support Indie Summer” Reading Challenge for children K-12! To play along and enter to win a stack of books from the challenge, you just need to earn ten points and then fill out this form to enter the drawing. One reader will win all of the challenge picture books, one reader will win all of the middle grade books, and one reader will win all of the young adult books! Only one entry per reader, but multiple readers in a household can enter.
My next book, The Good Wine, will be available on July 1, 2021 and is available for pre-order! More retailers are being added daily, so keep checking your favorite bookseller to see when you can order your copy. In-person special event launches as well as an online event are being scheduled. Subscribe to my Newsletter to get updates.
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: “Just to Sit Still Would Be a Sin”
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020).