I am WANDERING but I am not LOST

 

Sukkot is a time when Jews choose to eat outdoors and remember what it was like to wander in the desert.

George and I have chosen to give up our home and wander in South East Asia. Right now, October 2012 during Sukkot we are nomads in Myanmar. My 45th birthday is on October 18. Please join me in my #45×45 project to help the refugees from Darfur receive Solar Cookers so they can feel safe and begin to rebuild their lives.

Our first career break involved wandering from Indonesia to Mongolia in 2008. George and I met online in 2007 and almost immediately started to travel. We were in Fiji after 6 months, and George asked me to join his life long dream to travel for one year in Asia.
Taking a risk and a deep breath, I said yes. Once we were home from the Yasawa Islands, quitting my job and giving up my new condo for a year as a rental made me nervous. I kept coming up with more reasons why this vagabonding would be a bad idea. I focused almost completely on what I was giving up and not at all on what I would receive.
George helped me to focus on all the good things our trip would bring: time together, lots of time together, time to explore our relationship and other cultures. All of this came true and we even got engaged but that did not make the decision to go any easier for me. I had many long walks and long phone calls to discuss if this nomadic year would work for me at all.
Early in our time away, we stayed at a hostel in Auckland, New Zealand called Nomads. Their tag line was Nomads: All who wander are not lost. Feeling relived that I could wander and not be lost; I took my first deep breath in months. After all the drama of being unsure about going, I loved the trip.Now I find myself longing for our months of wandering lost from plans, schedules and rules. I have been dreaming of our 11-day van trip to the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, with no road, little planning and amazing sights. Staying in Gers, Mongolian tents, reminds me also of the Jewish holiday happening now called Sukkot.
Many Jews celebrate Sukkot by creating a Sukkah, a temporary dwelling to use for meals and host guests. This holiday is a reminder of when we lived in fields, has temporary dwellings and were nomads. It is a time to be grateful and hospitable.
The Mongolians we met were some of the most hospitable people on our 12-country 11-month sojourn. One night our driver, Oggi, took all of us on an unplanned stop to Borj’s Ger. Although they were not expecting the six of us, the family was so welcoming.
It did not matter that we did not share a common verbal language; they shared their food, our Genghis Khan vodka, their tent (we slept on the floor), and their love of the land. We helped to make noodles over the dung burning stove, herd the goats although we are not sure we actually were helpful, and play with the children.
Sukkot reminds of a time when we were nomads and possibly a bit lost. It now also reminds me of people who still live in tents and have so much to give. Traveling has changed my definitions of lost and found, of wandering and staying in one place. At this time of year, I hope to find and give more hospitality and more destinations where I can lose myself.
This article was first published two years ago in October 2010 as Nomads: All Who Wander Are Not Lost on Technorati.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed on cruise ships for seven years on the high seas and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blog and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one million views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 150,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. She has been a finalist for six Southern California Journalism Awards in the past three years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip. http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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