Traveling Light

It was about a year ago I went on my own bucket list trip. I think it is always interesting to hear about people’s bucket lists and the things and places they want to travel to, see, and do in their life. Sometimes the experiences are very similar to others and sometimes they are wildly different. Reflecting the uniqueness of every human being and the desires of adventure and curiosity of exploration.

In March of last year I saw one of my favorite musicians was doing a summer 40th anniversary tour, and living in Music City USA means we often get the concerts smaller towns don’t. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have long been my favorite band, probably because my momma raised me right. But I knew I didn’t want to see them in Nashville. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Bridgestone, but for the first time seeing my favorite musician?) So I looked at other cities and saw Seattle, a city I’d long wanted to visit but had 1-no excuse to and 2-no one to journey there with.

IMG_5110And that’s a hard rub as a single person. You know your other single friends are on budgets like yourself, and may not be up for traveling to the same place or seeing the same things as you. You don’t want to force people to adhere to your travel plans or destinations out of shear selfishness.

 

20953703_10105336340976795_4326938811749454304_nSo I went alone. To a city I have never been to. Staying in an AirBnB. Driving in a city I had never driven in (but hey, still on the left side of the road!). Because I wanted to see my favorite musician and visit a city I’d dreamt of seeing for a decade. I did research on some things to check out, bought a random city pass to see a bunch of sites I may not have otherwise have gotten to see. I went to two different distilleries for tours and tastings, saw the OG Starbucks, and even fell in love with an artist that I will not shut up about a year later (Chihuly glass!).

 

 

Chihuly Blue

Yes, there were times when I was apprehensive about being there alone. Loneliness crept in at moments, just like they do on a random Tuesday night at home. But I learned that I miss out on life, on living and adventuring if I wait for a boyfriend or spouse to come along to do those things with. Sometimes you do have friends who can make trips work, or you go on adventures with your family to places like I am doing in a couple of weeks with my sister to Chicago. But there are times, when you are single, that you just cannot make it work and you either sit by planning for the day when you might have a partner or you jump and take the trip.

If I had waited, I would’ve missed seeing my favorite musician live in concert. Maybe that’s what has really spurred my heart and passion for traveling as a single. Because if I had put off that trip, or opted out because of my marital status, I would never have seen him perform in person (and ya’ll it was so good….).

You still have to be aware when you travel alone, and probably more hyper aware than when with another person or in a group. But living your life means living it as it’s gifted to you right now. Not waiting for the “what if” days to come that may never come to fruition. As I shared on Instagram earlier this week, Flying across the country solo showed me the beauty of life, adventure and even my singleness while also reminding me that no matter what I may feel as a single, God’s designed my life and is very present in every bit of it. I have to choose to recognize my heart and desire for living out that life. Regardless of the lie of “less than” as a single, regardless of the loneliness, regardless of the emotion I attach to it or presume about it.

Chiamari Fuori

Over the next week I am traveling in Italy. In being here under 48 hours I have to say this place is one that I never could have imagined loving as I now do.

Its a social culture, a slower pace, and a place that I am interested to discover more about. It’s beauty and character go hand in hand with its history. I’ve sat and reveled in a park already at all around me. People who are image bearers of Christ but might not know Him. Rarely do I get in this mindset on home turf. Italy is changing my view of life and people, of culture and demands.

As people of God we are chiamari fuori -separated, called out. Do we look that different? Do we look separated and called apart? So this is the question I carry now. This is what I was with in each step.

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Traveling Solo

On Friday the notion struck me to hit the road for a day trip. With all that has been going on in life I just wanted a day to be away, but not too far, and enjoy the time and place God has me. So naturally I went to Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not use or copy without permission
Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not use or copy without permission

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Lynchburg is home to Jack Daniels Whiskey Distillery. It’s also a dry county, leaving it in quite an odd predicament. You can taste the whiskey, you can see the whiskey, but you have to drive about 25 minutes if you want to buy the whiskey (unless you purchase a commemorative bottle at the Visitor Center shop). The town is small, and most of the residents have lived there for their lifetimes, knowing the stories of Jack and how he put their town on the map.

Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

On this particular weekend that I chose to make a visit, the International BBQ Festival happened to be taking place, so double-win for me! There were roughly 25,000 people that would be in Lynchburg over the weekend for this festival, celebrating it’s 25th year. There was judging and competitions going on, as well as games for the the families to play. One of which included Butt Bowling. It’s where you use a Boston Butt of meat as a bowling ball, instead of a regular bowling ball, to knock down pins. (There were a bunch of Bama fans playing that, so I guess it’s a state past-time. You knew I was going to crack some joke since UT lost horribly to them Saturday as well).

Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

So I got to Lynchburg at around 9:30, as it’s about an hour and fifteen minute drive from Nashville…the majority of which is on four lane highway through towns or a two lane backroad. Thankfully there was only a 20 minute wait for me to get into a sampling tour, as I was traveling solo and one was easily added in. I would suggest, for those 21 and up, to pay the $11 for the sampling tour instead of taking the free tour. You get a little longer tour and a taste of three of the types of sipping whiskey they distill there. (Also if you can, get Bettie as your tour guide, she is fantastic!) While on the tour I got the opportunity to actually chat with some of the others on the tour, finding out there were people from Austin and Chicago on the tour. I think that’s what I enjoy so much about traveling solo is the chance to have conversations with complete strangers, and hear their stories, to be open to new experiences and life-giving moments.

I set out that day to just get away, and get some material for my blog as I am in the

Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.
Photo owned by Sara Stacy. Do not copy or use without permission.

process of completely revamping it (to be revealed in the next week!). What I didn’t realize was the interactions would drive so much of where my writing, my life, and this single journey are heading. This post is a sneak peek of a new addition to the blog, as I set out on providing those who love to travel but are not quite sure about the reality of doing so alone. There is a vast world out there, and if we wait for someone else to join us we will miss out on so much. We are better for the experiences and the growth when we choose to do them ourselves.

So I hope you’ll join me as I work to roll over the site as well as start a traveling solo section with trips and tips for that single traveler out there.