Hello! Welcome to Go Out And Serve. After a couple of years of blogging in anonymity, I can honestly say that I’m happy you’re here! So, this is me…
I know, I’ll get back to that photo in a minute. First, let me tell you about myself.
Who Am I, Anyway?
A few years ago, I was living a life that seemed great from the outside but wasn’t healthy on the inside. I knew that something was wrong but I didn’t have the courage to do anything about it because I was living the life that I was told I should have. I was nothing if not a people pleaser, and upending my life to chase dreams that others thought were ridiculous was just not something that I was brave enough to do. So I tried various ways to silence my discontent and make myself happy in my unhappy but desirable life.
Nothing worked; no new project, no new hobby, no new distraction was enough to settle my gut and make me believe that my life was fine as it was. Still, I stayed stuck in the prison I had built for myself because I was too afraid to do anything about it myself.
For years I went to church and cried my heart out during praise and worship, for years I prayed about my unhappiness, and for years God seemed silent about it all until suddenly, He wasn’t. Between July 2014 and January 2015, He sprung me from my self-made prison in sort of dramatic fashion (redundancy, broken engagement, stripping away my status symbols) and suddenly I was free to walk the path He always meant for me to be on. Suddenly, I was an ex-executive whose life had undergone a dramatic 180 degree change, and the things that used to matter most to me didn’t matter so much anymore.
Before I even came down from the elation and emotional shock that my sudden freedom brought with it, I decided not to waste the second chance that God had given me. I started travelling and I haven’t stopped since. And that’s how I started this blog in January 2016. I was undertaking two big adventures back-to-back – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and moving to Indonesia for one year – and I had family and friends who were interested in walking through the adventure with me. It struck me that re-telling the story to each person repeatedly would get old fast, so I decided to blog about it.
But, as God tends to do, what I intended as a simple way of keeping my peeps updated on what was happening with me changed into something bigger than just me sharing the tourist-type details of my journeys. I learned that what I had to say meant something to people and, gradually, it became important for me to also share the ways that God uses the things that happen while I journey to grow me up spiritually. That’s why on this blog you’ll find posts about the places I I travel to and the things that I do there, but you’ll also find posts about my spiritual growth and the incidents that spark them.
So who am I, anyway? Well, I’m no longer an executive who follows anyone’s rules or meets anyone’s expectations except God’s. Instead, I’m a child of God who’s trying her best to not waste my God-given do-over. His do-over plan includes me going out and serving His people (hence the name of this blog). I also believe that His plan includes me sharing my journey with others in order to inspire them to walk in their own God-given purpose with faith and courage, and that’s what I hope you’ll find here.
Currently, God is using me as a teacher of English as a foreign language but who knows what else He has in store? I’m excited to find out.
A Few Things To Know About Me
So other than the fact that I’m a one-time successful (by the world’s standards) executive, what’s even mildly interesting about me?
1. I hate being hot, which is why I love winter
Seriously, hate probably isn’t even a strong enough word for how I feel about being really hot. This is problematic for someone who is from the Caribbean, where the weather is either hot or a little less hot.
Intellectually, I already knew that I love winter because what kind of unreasonable person hates every season? Also, I’ve lived in or visited what I now think of as mild winter conditions before and I’ve loved it. But having now lived through winter in Yakutia, I can solidly say that winter is my favourite season of all! This is why that first photo at the top of this page is of me happily reclining on a bench at the top of the Lena Pillars in -42°C temperature. I would totally live up there if I could! Other things that make me irritable: lack of sleep and hunger.
2. I’ve had Lasik surgery
I started wearing glasses when I was nine years old and for the next for thirty-two years, I couldn’t navigate life without them, from waking to sleeping. During that time, I wore contact lenses for a few years but eventually stopped because my eyes developed an allergy to them, no matter what my ophthalmologist tried. Through all of that, I never really had a problem with wearing glasses, and embraced them as part of who I was. Then my life on the move began and it occurred to me that as a single female navigating the globe, being able to depend on my eyes is essential. Even before the practicality of going glasses-less hit me, God was gently guiding me in that direction. So in January 2017 I got Lasik surgery and the only glasses I wear now are my classic Ray Bans.
3. I love hiking but I’m not a hardcore hiker
I’ve always loved walking. Jogging and running, not so much. Too much jiggling and bouncing of things that aren’t supposed to jiggle or bounce, in my opinion. A few years ago, when I was living my fake life, I indulged this love of walking by completing a 5K every month. Yes, you can totally walk those. Anyway, a few years ago when God sprung me from that fake life, I hared off to Tanzania at the invitation of an acquaintance and while I was there on that first visit, I saw Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance and a strong desire to hike it came to life in me. A few months later, I was back in Tanzania to do just that.
That experience was so profound that it birthed in me a love of hiking. But I’m a simple hiker, not a mountain goat; so far, I haven’t rappelled off rocks or swung off ropes attached to grappling hooks. I’m not saying I’ll never do those things but they’re not on my bucket list right now. Still, I never say no because I’m almost always ready for a new experience or adventure.
4. I’m a lifelong reader and a recovering romance novel addict
I’d say it was inevitable that I would love books since my mom used to be an English Literature teacher and all my life my dad has had an office full of floor to ceiling bookshelves stocked with every book he ever wanted (plus more on the desk and floor when he’s run out of shelf space). But my sister isn’t in love with books so I guess it’s less a product of my environment and more just who I am. My day never feels complete unless I’ve read something and I can literally spend hours in a bookstore. In fact, one of the few things I absolutely will not do is go to a bookstore with someone who will try to rush me. Annoys me no end.
My favourite genre is mystery (from Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle to Alexander McCall Smith and Dan Brown) but my favourite book of all time is The Lord of the Rings. Also, having spent a large portion of my teen and adult years sheepishly addicted to romance novels, I’m no longer sheepish or an addict, although I still read them when I want something quick and feel-good.
5. I’m a pretty practical person
Alliteration not intended. I’m somewhat of a dreamer but I’m also pretty practical. This is why, as much as I love books and it used to be that I couldn’t go a week without buying one, my current life doesn’t include a home base so I rarely buy books these days. Not only do I have no place to store them, but I’m not paying extra airline baggage fees to bring my books along as I acquire them and I’m sure not leaving them behind. The practical part of my nature is also why I avoid shopping malls at this time, unless I really need something. I don’t need to be buying a tonne of clothes right now. Having said all that, book and clothes shopping are high on my list of things to do when God finally brings me to my heart home, whenever that may be!
OK! So now you know me a little better, feel free to poke around. If you want to know about some of the places I’ve been, check out my Going Out posts.
If you want to know more about how God is growing me spiritually, check out my Growing Up posts.
And if you want to know more about how God uses me as I go, check out my Serving Others posts.
Meanwhile, some posts that I think will get you up to speed are:
- My series on how my life fell apart then started coming together again
- The two months I spent travelling on my first ever Epic Trip
- My life changing journey up and down Mount Kilimanjaro
- The day I discovered that I’d been a passionless coward for about 96% of my life
- How I came to live in the coldest inhabited city in the world