Have you ever wanted to leave everything behind and travel the world?

Yeah, me too. So, that’s what I’m doing.

It’s been a long and unexpected journey to get to this point. A devout Catholic, successful military officer, turned full-time missionary, I branched out to start my own coaching business on the heels of my own marriage falling apart.

Divorce was never part of my life plan. I assumed by 33 I’d be happily married and a stay-at-home Mom to at least three unbelievably adorable children. But God didn’t abandon me in the hurt and confusion of my painfully unmet expectations. Instead, He began to shift my perspective and show me the beauty and potential in a life that while far from “ideal,” was ripe with potential and crying out to be lived fully.

ENLIVEN. One simple word. One enormous mission. God gave me this word.

“I want you to live this enlivened life and teach others to do the same,” He seemed to say.

Besides being unsure about exactly how to do that, I knew with every fiber of my being that this was – that this IS – my life’s mission.

I already know there are many people who need to be “enlivened.” A few years ago that was me. Life was good, but I wouldn’t say it was great.  And certainly not exceptional. At that time I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific that was missing or askew. By societal standards I had all the necessary ingredients for the ideal existence: health, good looks, financial security, a job I enjoyed, a beautiful home and a handsome, successful husband. But that’s all I was really doing – existing.

There was a silent longing for something more, a quiet desperation within that I hid behind a bright smile, a polished resume and the seemingly perfect Facebook profile. All the things that should have satiated this unnamed need were failing. Temporary distractions were just that. But I continued with the status quo, hoping that the vibrant, fulfilling life I’d always imagined enjoying was just around the corner.

Then my marriage began unraveling, forcing me to reevaluate my entire philosophy on… well, everything.

I’ve written a 217 page book on the three-year journey God led me on to rediscover hope in the midst of the most excruciating heartbreak I’ve ever experienced. Perhaps one day I’ll actually publish it. But I did rediscover hope and much more – an insatiable desire to embrace this experience called life and boldly and authentically drink every drop of it. Which leads me to today.

The remnants of what was once a stunning four-bedroom house is now easily contained in less than half of a 5 by 10 foot storage space in Norfolk, Virginia. I may not have a husband or kids, but God sent me Natalie, and with her two dogs, we are a family of sorts. Despite sometimes being mistaken as a couple, we both have hopes that wonderful husbands and children will one day be part of our future. But for the present we have each other, and an incredible opportunity and shared passion to travel the world and really live this enlivened life to the extreme.

“What are you going to do? Where are you going to go?”

These questions are the usual response when I tell people about this very loose plan. And while I sometimes give a brief overview of what I think the future holds, the truth is, I have no idea. I don’t know where this journey will lead much less where it will end. I’m hoping it will be to all 7 continents. But whether or not that happens, I’m confident of one thing – it is going to change me in ways I can’t yet understand and I will never be the same.

I left Virginia, my home of more than 11 years, last week and with stops in Alabama and Louisiana to visit my family, I just arrived in Dallas, Texas. In my car is what I believe I need for the next five or six months until I can get back to my storage unit and change out my wardrobe.  Truthfully, I don’t really need 90% of what I brought. I’m just not ready to let go of all of the comfort of my somewhat normal, former life… at least not yet.

Somehow I think that will change.

Natalie will be joining me in Dallas in a few days with our furry traveling companions, Nimitz and Mugsy. That’s when we will combine everything into her car (I’ll leave mine parked in a friend’s garage) and start making our way out west where this great adventure will officially begin.

Unbridled excitement, joy, hope, fear, uncertainty and anticipation are just a few of the emotions I’m currently experiencing. I’m rational enough to know that there will be many trials along the way, unexpected obstacles, moments of frustration and, no doubt, tears. My cracked windshield is already proof of that. But I also know there will be indescribable moments of captivating beauty, awe-inspiring encounters, laughter that elicits tears and memories and friendships that will endure forever.

THIS is the great enlivening. This is what I have been waiting my whole life to experience. And this is what I want to share with you.

Over the coming months Natalie and I will be chronicling the highs and lows and random in-betweens of this epic world tour! We hope you’ll follow us here and keep us in your prayers. And if you want to join us or come visit wherever we may be – here is your open invitation. We’d love to have you!

The great enlivening isn’t just for us… It’s for you too! So, here’s to all of us and the unknown adventure of a lifetime that we are about to embark upon!

P.S. Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the “subscribe” link to get our latest updates! 🙂

quotetravel5

43 Comments on “Have you ever wanted to leave everything behind and travel the world?

  1. My sweet friend. I pray that you receive all that God has for you on your adventure of a lifetime! Blessings. Patti xoxo

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  2. Rachael, your life has changed so much so fast, with massive up and downs and yet, you continue to stretch and pursue Gods perfect will for your life. Hang-in there, seek and you shall find. God Bless you on your travels.

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    • Thanks so much, David! It has been quite a journey the last few years and I do believe the best is yet to come! God bless you and Ada! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Frank! Hope you are well and please keep the prayers coming! 🙂

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  3. God speed, sweet girl … fortunately dogs weren’t included in the mix of things Jesus instructed his disciples not to bring on their journey! Will definitely keep your happy band of travelers in my prayers!! ❤ Cindi

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    • Thanks so much Cindi! Your prayers are powerful, effective and so very appreciated! Hope our paths will cross again soon! 🙂 Hugs and love!

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    • Thanks so much for the comment Lesley! We are super excited at what God has in store for us! 🙂 Please keep the prayers coming and all the best to you!

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  4. I am proud of you for taking this journey! I feel like I was previously just existing and now I want to more out of life. If I wasn’t the primary care giver for my mom and my son was 18 instead of 15. I would be packing right now. I hope you meet wonderful people and enjoy all of the sights and experiences. I look forward to hearing more about your adventure! Stay safe!

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    • Hi Deana, thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your perspective. I know many people would love to do what we are doing but have responsibilities that make that impossible. Perhaps this will be something in your future! Either way, please do follow our journey online and thanks again for your support and encouragement! 🙂

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  5. Bless you, dear friend! I am looking forward to your updates and what God shows you along the way! Enjoy the journey! Much love and lots of hugs, Karen

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  6. Hey, Rachel. I’ve re-booted a couple of times myself; life happens in between the answers. Sometimes it takes awhile. Godspeed and best wishes. I can’t wait to find out where you land…mission-wise. Mike McCandless

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    • Thanks so much, Mike! You and me both…there’s no telling where God is leading, but I am truly excited about the journey to get there. 🙂 Hope you are doing well and I have been thinking about you a lot as I am in California and staying in Santa Barbara tonight! God bless you!

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  7. Rachel
    You continue to amaze me as you listen to God’s whispers and follow His directions!
    May God bless you and Natalie as you embark on this journey of faith💕🙏🏻

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    • Thanks so much Pat! I am humbled and so excited about where God is leading…despite not knowing exactly where..haha! Hope this finds you well and our paths will cross again soon! Hugs and love my sweet friend! 🙂

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  8. Jill (formerly of Coppell and St. Ann's; now in Seguin, Tx)

    As a fellow survivor of divorce, I know your pain and I know your strength. God has great plans for you; please keep us updated with your latest adventures. God bless you, Rachel. Please keep my son and I in your prayers.

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    • Thanks so much, Jill! Thank you Lord that when we walk through difficult seasons He is always with us! May God bless you my sweet friend and thanks for taking the time to comment. You and your Son are in my prayers! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Reggie! Your prayers are powerful and effective! Please keep em coming and best to you and your family! 🙂

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  9. God will lead you, protect you and give you awesome adventures! Have fun fully living in His light and His love! Can’t wait to hear about all the people you are given the opportunity to share His love with!
    If you get a chace, check out Ken Davis, FULLY ALIVE, concert. It is fun, funny and POWERFUL!

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    • Thanks so much Katy! We are truly thrilled at the opportunity to experience this amazing journey…wherever God will lead us on it! My best to you and your family and thanks for following us on this adventure! God bless you!

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  10. Rachel- I am very excited to know you are experiencing His life as is meant to be. 💖 Praying for you. Keep me posted💋

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    • Thanks so much, Suzanne! God is so good and I am very excited too! Hopefully you signed up for our blog so you get the updates! Thanks for your prayers and support! Hugs and love! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Onycha! I receive those words of life and am praying the same thing! Hope this finds you well and hugs and love to you and your family! 🙂

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    • Hey Lynetta! So great to hear from you sweet friend! Thanks for your encouragement and you better believe I am rejoicing in the Lord…just like I know you are! Hugs and love to you! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Jim! I truly am! Hope all is well with you and your family! God bless!

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  11. Rachel, God speed to you and Natalie on your new life venture. Judy and I would love to here about your travels and experiences. You will have wonderful travels learning about people, cultures, and yourselves while seeing this beautiful earth God has created.
    God Bless,
    J&D

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    • Thanks so much Don! We are happy to share our adventure and hopefully you signed up for the blog so you can follow our journey and get our updates! 🙂 Hope all is well with you and July and look forward to seeing you both again soon! Hugs and love!

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  12. Rachel–I’m so glad to meet you through your writing! thank you both for sharing your friendship! Please write the dogs’ thoughts on this whole venture, too. I highly recommend a stop at Mesa Verde on your way west. It’s a glorious example of prehistoric America’s way of life. and if your travels bring you to the Northeast in the autumn, please give yourselves the opportunity to see the North country of Vermont and new Hampshire: Beauty to die for–only you probably won’t, unless you’re very sensitive to aesthetic overdose!

    Love to you both, and thanks for sharing your great enlivening! Mucho gusto!

    Aunt Patty

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    • Dear Aunt Patty (wait, should I call you that? :))

      It’s so great to hear from you and I am so looking forward to meeting you in person! I feel like I already know you based on what Natalie has told me! (All wonderful things, of course!) We have spent the last few weeks with the Hunter family and I even saw some home videos featuring you as a young girl! Please know that we are praying for you and God’s blessing and healing and I hope we will be able to see you when we are up in your neck of the woods! 🙂

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      • Thanks, Rachel! Yes, I think you can leave the She-Ra costume in your glove compartment. It’s much more courageous to be yourself–and you do have three traveling companions. It will be scary sometimes, but it will turn out just fine! So say I. l should warn you that I’m not wonderful at emailing, so don’t be unhappy if I seem to have wandered off for a few days. I do that.

        Love to you both, and bountiful blessings!
        Aunt Patty to you both, I hope!

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    • Hey Mohammed! You know we will! Hope you are doing well and hugs and love to you and your sweet bride! 🙂

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