I’ve been aching to get out into the world again. These past few weeks have been laden with our apartment move, recovering from sickness, unsuccessful meal planning, full schedules and general tiredness. I suppose that’s one of the big lessons of adulthood: no responsible life is one constant thrill. An occasional victory among mundane routines is more like it.

Anyway, I’ve been so excited to share with you our travel plans for the summer. One reason why I’m grateful for my freelance job and my husband’s academic calendar is that we still (get to pretend we) have summer vacation! That means we can explore, wander, serve others, and push ourselves in ways outside of our everyday work.

Our summer is two-part. Two international destinations in late June and July before buckling down back to work and school in August.

This summer's travel plans (source)

Part 1: Japan

Japan is probably one of the most picturesque countries, ever. As an outsider looking in, I adore their minimalist style, impeccable perfectionism, and unparalleled food.

We are thrilled to be able to spend 2 weeks wandering through Japanese cities and countryside. Plans are still in the works, but we’re looking forward to experiencing traditional Japanese culture: gardens, museums, tea ceremonies, markets, old inns and of course, sushi. More importantly, we’ll be celebrating my mom’s birthday (hint: it’s a big one!) and getting to spend some real quality time with her.

Ever been to Japan? In recent years I’ve only visited Hokkaido, so I would LOVE any tips that you have on Japan travel!

this summer's travels (photo w/ permission via Katie)

Part 2: Ecuador

One of my goals this summer was to volunteer with children overseas. Truly, it was a desire of my heart, and something that always make me come to life– to be my very best self. I love working with my students here at home too, but it’s always within a serious academic context. I long to play, to laugh and to give of myself fully and freely: the way I’ve done in the past, in Asia and Latin America.

Right when I decided to volunteer, my dear friend Katie of Hope Engaged posted about her trip to South America. She had visited a beautiful ministry called Casa Victoria, which serves neighborhood children in Quito, Ecuador. Katie and I had been in touch for a while (and we finally met in person in February!), so I asked her whether Casa Victoria could use a couple of volunteers in the summer. She said yes, gushed about the lovely couple who runs the place, and I got in touch with them as soon as I could. (Aren’t blog connections awesome??)

So, friends, my husband and I will be spending 3 weeks this summer at Casa Victoria, helping them run their summer enrichment program! We will be taking students on field trips, teaching them how to cook and about our cultures, and participating in all that goes on at Casa Victoria. And, with a little luck, we’ll use our time off to explore the amazing country of Ecuador, because neither of us has ever been!

 

In other words, be prepared for lots of travel photos! As I often try to tell my students, summer is for seeing the world and expanding our horizons, whether it’s simply strolling through a new part of town, or jet-setting overseas to meet new friends and be of service. I will forever cherish every summer that we get to give of ourselves and to receive– to receive a lot. Thanks for sharing in our joy!

 

Do you have any exciting upcoming adventures? I’d love to know!