The smells of gyros and body odor filled the cobblestoned streets as our group awkwardly pulled our luggage, avoiding getting the wheels stuck in the cracks of the pavement.
We used our maps and limited sense of direction to find our way across the street from the train station and into the alley where our hostel was located.
After checking in and settling our luggage into lockers, we sat on sofas in the middle of the hostel basement and took a deep breath. We had finally made it.
This past year, I joined several hundred students to participate in the T.R.A.V.E.L. Program here at Gannon.
I had seen “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” multiple times in my life and having my own adventure amongst the streets of Greece was a dream that I held dear to my heart.
For months, we planned the trip, working through language barriers to book all the necessary accommodations.
And after so many months of planning, we had finally made it to our destination.
Greece was by far the best adventure I have ever been a part of.
Our group of all girls took advantage of every part of the culture that lay before us as we ate our weight in olive oil, said “opa!” way too many times and took super touristy photos.
During all the chaos that surrounded me during that time, I felt closer to my faith then ever before.
Traveling and going outside of your comfort zone is one of the most important parts of growing your faith.
I learned to love a world of people from a much different background and tradition than I have been a part of.
As I stood in a café ordering a Greek coffee that has double the espresso of American coffee and stumbled through my minimal Greek just to say “thank you,” I was greeted with sincere gratitude for even trying.
It takes understanding and courage to go out and learn to love others around you.
God does not want for us to sit still and be content in our view of the world he has made.
It takes much more as we need to force ourselves to go out there and explore all his creation has to offer.
I found amazement for the human mind exploring ancient history among the Acropolis.
I discovered the beauty of the impact religion has on nations at Delphi.
I was in awe of the masterpiece created through the combination of natural and manmade wonders on the cliffs of Meteora.
I found love for the girls traveling beside me during our adventures in Paros.
And I truly found the beauty of God’s grace watching the sun set beneath the Mediterranean in Mykonos.
If there is one thing that God is calling all of us to do, it is to go and see what he has made for us.
Be caregivers of this earth and the people that live within it.
Who knows? You may just find God while shouting “Kalimera” to an old Greek man in Paros.