My favorite travel partner celebrated her birthday in Japan (without me).

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From the first moment I met this schminkaritza, I loved her. I mean…giving me white chocolate chex mix is the quickest way to my heart. We were in New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina (World Race training/interviews) and Sisson (Jessica Sisson Blair) brought snacks and made this tough time FUN!! I couldn’t believe that someone would wear jewelry and dress up to go clean mold out of a flooded house. It blew my mind that someone could look so put together with a mask covering her mouth and nose, knee deep in garbage. BLEW MY MIND!!

Fast forward just about 9 years and I still don’t wear jewelry and dress up most days, but I have a best friend that does. When I need a good cry, advice, a good laugh, prayer or a recipe…Sisson is my girl. We may be as different as two people could possibly be, but by golly, we make a great team.

 From those first days in New Orleans…we have… traveled around the world, walked with heavy backpacks through Italy AT NIGHT (UGH), visited hospitals with needles, ended up at a World Cup game in Germany (yes…we painted our faces), stayed with Royalty (drinks with those lawyers…beep beep), not bathed for 3 weeks in India (you better believe we snuck water and shaved our legs), met cute Marines in Burundi (yeah yeah…Marshall…you’re alright), skinny dipped in at least 5 different countries, got married (she stood by my side on my big day), had babies (her…not me), smelled up trains, accidentally ended up where terrorists are trying to take over Paris, accidentally (I’m not kidding) hid someone under our blanket during a passport check in Austria, slept at the foothills of the Matterhorn in Switzerland (for FREE), ate the world’s best lasagna on the Amalfi Coast, watched 24 in Burundi (just one more…), hitch-hiked (a lot), loved street kids, saw severe poverty, had our roof-top (freak-out) sessions, learned how to share our faith, laughed, cried, shared our deepest secrets, been constipated (not sure why I had to write that), loved deeply, moved (a lot)…but through it all, I never once doubted that Sisson and I were going to conquer life together.

I couldn’t ask for a more kind-hearted, adventurous, godly, beautiful friend. Even though oceans separate us right now, I am certain that I have a friend for life. I look forward to many more adventures together. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISSON!!!

My best friend turned 12!!!


Yes. I am 34 and one of my best friends is 12.

It’s a long story, but telling stories is why I blog so here goes…


In 2007 I was lost. Like…completely lost. I had just finished my first trip around the world and I was back home. Home…whatever that was. I had seen the world, met people from 26 different countries, experienced different cultures and truly found my passion…travelling and loving people. But, all good things come to an end. The trip ended and I came home. Home to friends who had lived their lives for a year who didn’t understand the new me, home to a family who loved me deeply but could not comprehend that the girl who left was not the same girl who came home, home to a few personal belongings none of which mattered at all (except my passport). I had to get away. I had to do something different. I had expressed that desire to only a few people and within a day I was planning on moving to Texas to become a nanny for a family that I didn’t know. One of my best friends lived across the street from a family who needed someone to live with them and take care of their 4 and 8 year old girls for the summer in Texas. SIGN ME UP!! I would live across the street from Sarah Rinn ( Posey)who was on the World Race journey with me (she understood why I only needed one pair of shoes and why I actually preferred going to the bathroom outside on occasion…not that I did that in America). I had a phone “interview” more like a conversation with Becky, the mom of the two girls and when I hung up, I mapquested how long it would take to drive to Texas. 22 hours. GREAT! I left the next day (the day before my 27th birthday).


The ride was uneventful. I made one stop to talk to a group of college students about my previous trip and one to see an old friend. I am on a mission when I go on road trips. Quick stops…just get there!! I arrived in Texas at Becky’s house in record time. It was beautiful. Nicest house I had ever lived in that is for sure. She pulled up a second later in her little red sports car and she hugged me so tight. I instantly felt AT HOME! It was a feeling I was searching for for a very long time. All it took was the hug of a stranger. We jumped in her car to go meet the girls. They were at their grandparent’s house. On the way there Becky and I got to know each other and she told me how shy the girls are and how they will probably not talk much at first. Boy was she wrong. I met them and remember thinking that they were the prettiest little girls I had ever seen. Makes sense because you should see their mom!! We got back in the car and before we were at the first stop sign, I knew everything about the girls. They were talking a mile a minute and I loved every second of it. I had met so many strangers over the last year and lived with so many families temporarily that this wasn’t new to me, but it was to them. I tried to keep that in mind.


The next day was my birthday and they celebrated with me. We had party hats and everything. I was the happiest I had been in months. This was the second best decision I have ever made in my life (marrying Dan is the first…although that probably wouldn’t have happened had I not moved to Texas and that happened years later…so in all fairness up to this point in my life…BEST DECISION EVER!!!)


Years have passed since that day but to me, Sam, Grace and Becky are HOME!!


Sam is now 16 and, in my opinion, perfect in every way. Smart, talented, athletic, beautiful, kind, godly, funny and compassionate. The world needs more Sams.


Today, January 9th is Grace’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIEFIE!!! She is someone I would give my own life for. I love her more than I love myself. I didn’t know that was possible, but it is. I miss her every day (living in Florida is silly, really). Grace has given me confidence when I didn’t have any, she loved me when I felt unlovable, she has made me laugh when I was sad, she has taken care of me when I was sick, she has encouraged me when I needed it, she has taught me patience and she has shown me what it looks like to live a life that makes God smile.


My favorite Grace moment of all time was when she prayed at our wedding. It was such a precious moment for me to watch that little…well not so little anymore…girl hold the microphone and thank God for bringing Dan into all of our lives.


She is going to change this world and I couldn’t be more proud to call her my best friend.

I was in Hawaii for New Year’s Eve

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In 2007, I was on my second journey around the world and we (10 South Africans and 3 Americans) ended up in HAWAII for Christmas and New Years. It was the longest journey of my life, but oh…so worth it.

We started the journey in India on Christmas Eve with an epic dance party. We flew out of freezing New Delhi to Japan. Hello…remote control toilets. You have no idea how exciting that is after using a squatty potty for a few weeks. I ate sushi…of course and took a quick nap. Christmas Eve in Japan wasn’t super exciting. We had hoped to go into the city, but it was so expensive. We switched our flight to fly to Hawaii that day. So, we boarded our next really long flight to Hawaii. We were given a lei upon arrival at the airport and a driver took us to our campground. Believe it or not…it was Christmas Eve in Hawaii. We set up camp, took a nap and then went to a church service that night. Karlien and I went from tent to tent singing Christmas carols to everyone. It was so fun!!

Hawaii…one of the places I longed to go to the most in the world. I was there. I was sitting in a small church on Christmas Eve. The journey there was tiring, but man…I was there!!

We found out pretty quickly that we were there during the rainy season. Shoot…I am from Florida…a little rain isn’t going to ruin my day. A lovely lady named Janine (that we met at church the night before) picked us up and took us to watch the sunrise and we did all the touristy things you can do in O’ahu (in a day), which was great because we soon found out that we were going to be participating in a Luke 10 Journey.

Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you.

-Luke 10:4-12

We were divided into teams and not allowed to take any of our belongings. I was glad to leave that heavy bag at the rainy campsite. I had NO CLUE what to expect. We set off walking in the direction of the town…for obvious reasons. On our way, it started raining. A man (Sal) in a big van stopped to see if we needed a ride. Why not? The four of us girls jumped in the van. It was totally safe, mom. Long story short…he took us to his nice house and introduced us to his roommates who we ended up staying with for the next 4 days. They were so kind to us.

We were all back together at our campground for New Year’s Eve. We decided it needed to be epic, so I rented a car and made a few round trips to get everyone to Waikiki Beach. We had no clue where the fireworks would be, so we picked a random spot. BEST SPOT ON THE BEACH. The fireworks were right in front of us!! We had so much fun. I had to do the same round trips to get everyone back to the campground. Driving through Hawaii was definitely not the worst way to start 2008!!