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Here…. we…. go….

There's so much I don't know. 

I've spent the last year talking about this Whole Life Center trip to the Middle East, questioning other travelers, reading Michener's The Source, Tolan's The Lemon Tree, dipping into books by Marcus Borg and Palestinian Naim Ateek, and revisiting the Bible. I've taken notes on almost 36 lectures (!) on The Holy Land by an archaeology professor Jodi Magness. And still, there's just so much....

I've completed my pre-trip quest for the perfect, comfortable all-weather, perfect-for-every-occasion traveling shoes.  And I've packed, taking things OUT of my suitcase, putting other things back in, hoping for the right combination of layers for 50 degrees.

I've called the phone company so I can make calls if I need to from Turkey, Jordan, Israel and Palestine without mortgaging the house, though I still can't seem to find a definitive answer about where the + sign, the country code, and/or a 0 go.

And I've set up a blog site - almost - with the intention of sharing some reflections along the way. I'm just not exactly sure when - or how I'll be able to post from the road.

As a friend of mine likes to say, "it took me my whole life to get here," yet still, there's just so much I don't know. 

So on the morning before we leave, I'm steeped in both excitement and anxiety. Like Indiana Jones, I stand before the chasm. Stepping out into the emptiness, I trust that the way will appear. Even in the midst of my anxiety, I understand that the not knowing is a part of life. The wiser part of me trusts that the path will unfold.

Joseph Dispenza says in his book, The Way of the Traveler, that, "Once we begin to see travel as an inner journey, it is possible to turn every trip we take into a spiritual practice -- a hero's adventure that enlivens our hearts and enlarges our souls.....".  He reminds me of why I love to travel..... and even while it is a deeply individual journey, how good it is to share it with companions.

And so Marilyn, Sharon, Chuck, Judy and I depart. We've heard the call to adventure, we've prepared, and ready or not, it's time to make the journey, knowing that it will be full of uncertainty and serendipity as it unfolds for each and all of us.  Here.... we..... go.

Judy Schwiebert