Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Best Way to Travel {Atlas Girl Blog Tour}

This post is part of the Atlas Girl Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! 
My German neighbor peers over the gate almost every day.  

"Schokolade, schokolade," my toddler yells when he sees her because there are always two chocolates in her hand. 

My neighbor delivers the sweets into two eager hands. She points out the wild strawberries and motions to the sky with her dirt stained hands, and I know she's telling me it looks like rain, and perhaps I should roll back the shade hanging over the deck. And so I do. 

We can't communicate, really. But my  neighbor and I manage to speak with our arms, smiles and my fragmented German. The words don't matter so much. The actions speak louder. My neighbor ensures our mail is delivered, and she lends us a lawnmower. She brings elderberry syrup for our colds and garden flowers for our kitchen table. 

I'm so glad my neighbor doesn't speak a lick of English. If I desired my own tongue, I would stay home. Or I would find the popular tourist destinations. My husband and I played tourist for some time. We crafted a list with sites to see and checked them off religiously. Every weekend we tried to visit one new thing in our city or country: a museum, castle or landmark. But once we started attending the local German church, our weekends filled up with birthday parties and barbecues and would you like to join the women for a play date? 

I'm realizing the best way to travel is to dwell with local people. To drink tea or coffee in their homes. For in a local's living room, I find compassion and understanding. I encounter God's love for the entire worldevery tribe, tongue and nation.

Soon the locals show me the place in a deeper way, shattering all my misconceptions and stereotypes. I then see how the differences between the foreigner and me are not so foreign. 

At a morning play date with a German and Dutch friend, the conversation circles around child rearing and home renovations and baby names. Any new dinner ideas? And how about we do dinner just as girls next Thursday? 

Women are women all over the world.

I go home and my neighbor waves from the window. I put the dinner date on my calendar, glancing at my list of unfinished sites to see. I stopped ticking boxes around April.

It's when I saw the people.

And now there's nothing else I'd rather see.

 (This post is an excerpt from a series of blog posts titled Journals from Germanyour family's six month stint in my husband's birth country.)

I had the privilege and honor of reading an early copy of Emily Wierenga's first memoir, and I was truly inspired at how God takes her all over the world only to bring her home. (p.s. I'm one of the character's in the book. Can you figure out which one?)

Read my review of Atlas Girl on Amazon. 

Emily T. Wierenga, award-winning journalist and author of 4 books, has released her first memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look. They say the book is like “Girl Meets God” meets “Wild” meets “Eat, Pray, Love.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy here.


  1. What a lovely post! And what a blessing that you've found the best way to experience this part of your journey this way. :) Hope you and your gang are doing well!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Karen! Yes, I do feel richly blessed on this journey! Trust you are doing well!

  2. My sister, I'm finally getting around to reading posts on the blog tour and yours was one of the first I read. I couldn't wait to hear how life was going for you--and you've described it SO well here. I LOVE your heart and you sound right at home in Germany! I miss you Mel. Thank you for supporting me--it has meant the world to me. All my heart, e.

    1. You're so welcome, Em! It has been such an honor to support you on your writing journey. Love and miss you!


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