dear reader,

here’s to a summer of getting lost. a summer of laughing until I’m crying, late night talks about life, meeting people from around the world, canceled flights, endless bowls of gazpacho, and new friendships. here’s to getting lost (literally), but also being so found. being so found spiritually, emotionally and infinitely more.

we say that traveling changes us. it opens our eyes, it broadens our prospective, and of course, we learn. however, traveling does so much more. it isn’t even fair to say that living abroad changes us; it transforms us. we truly get the chance to absorb cultural differences, develop friendships with people from different countries, and for me, it really made me realize what is important in life. this summer has shown me the value of simplicity and happiness.

simplicity, is something i’ve never really had in my life. anyone who knows me knows i love to plan, i worry a lot, and i always am thinking a billion thoughts. nothing about those things are simple. i am not a go with the flow person. but this summer has taught me patience and to not stress about the small stuff, because a lot of it, we can’t control. of course i still stress about random things, but this summer i have learned not having a plan sometimes is okay, even good. for example, this summer for one of our trips we went to france and Switzerland, and we didn’t really have a plan. we spent our first night sitting by the river in Lyon with these random people from france and mexico, and we just talked about life. the next day we took the sketchiest (I’m not exaggerating.. it was bad) blabla car from Lyon, France to Geneva, Switzerland. they literally dropped us off in a FIELD on the side of the road outside Geneva. we had no plan. thank goodness we had katherine’s friend, Ben, who speaks fluent french with us. anyways though, long story short, we had no plan. but this trip ended up being one of my favorite. in Lausanne, a small town in Switzerland we stayed in, we ended up at a local music festival that night, and were with all locals and it was probably one of the coolest and most unique experiences of my life. so long story short, sometimes not planning and just going with the flow creates the best of memories.

I have also learned about simplicity with materials. in spain, they don’t have 4 cars per family. they don’t have a television in every room, and you know something crazy, they usually don’t have air-conditioning. gotta love southern spain. but really though, they live much more simply. it has made me realize that i don’t “need” a lot of the things I thought I did. they don’t live in a culture of excessive wanting like we do in the states. they are content. and Moroccans? even more content. when i visited these markets in Morocco, they had donkeys caring all the goods still through the streets, they had flip phones still, and they had very different living conditions, yet they were some of the happiest people i’ve ever met. privilege really hit me in the face that trip.

okay and happiness. this summer has been a lot of ups and downs I’m going to be honest. I have not been happy every second, I struggled with homesickness, which is something I wasn’t expecting. every moment wasn’t shining and happy, but I am soo glad every moment wasn’t. this summer was real. like i said, I got lost. but I also got found this summer. I found Jesus, and I have felt a happiness like never before. this summer has made me happy. the day I got asked for directions on the street (BEST DAY EVER). Just kidding, but honestly, it’s the small moments that really create the greatest happiness. happiness doesn’t have to be this unreachable thing that i think many people make it out to be. its just that, in our world today, people always want whats next, we are never satisfied with what we have right now. and living and growing through Jesus this summer, I have learned to just be happy with what I have, and to enjoy the moment. that, to me is happiness.

anyways, this post is a bit long and my writing is not very professional on these things, because i am pretty much just writing out exactly my thoughts. we only have 5 days left in spain now, and i don’t really think i am ready. i will write again soon.

hasta luego,

hailey