Setting Forth

As I write this, it’s Thursday night, and I’m sitting in the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

My flight for Salt Lake City leaves at 6:07am, so it was easier to come tonight rather than trying to get up here at 4:00 in the morning. While driving up here with my mom, I counted and realized that this will be at least the fifth time I’ve spent the night in an airport. For better or worse, it’s an appropriate start to this trip.

I did most of my packing yesterday and finished up today. There was part of me that was afraid I was going to forget something. As far as I can tell right now, though, I don’t think I did. This fear of forgetting something while I’m traveling is so acute that I’ve actually had dreams in which I’m already abroad when I come to a horrifying realization that I’ve forgotten X. Each time, however, I awake to discover that, not only have I not forgotten anything, I am, in fact, still in my own bed. I have a laugh to myself, though I often make a mental note not to forget that item.

I say all of this because, occasional fitful sleep aside, I really do know what I’m doing when it comes to traveling. That’s not to say that I don’t have the occasional blunder or misstep. Lord knows I do. And yet, as I sit here on this padded seat near the line in which I’ll check in come morning, the seat which will double as my bed this evening, I feel strangely comfortable (though certainly not because of this seat). I walked into the airport a few minutes ago, large backpack on my back. small bag across my chest, outfitted in my traveling clothes. Sitting in this airport feels as natural as anything else to me.

My bed tonight. All of the seats here have armrests. That’s great for resting arms, but it’s terrible for resting bodies. Thankfully, this one has only one armrest among the three seats, so I can lay across two of the seats. Hopefully I’ll be able to get at least some sleep.

I still don’t yet know how this trip is going to turn out. It could be a great success, a terrible failure, or anywhere in between. Still, I have this sensation that this is where I ought to be. I admit that I’ve had a decent amount of uncertainty and trepidation the past few days about this trip. Now, however, in this sterile environment listening to the mediocre pop music playing over the speakers, almost all of that anxiety has dissipated.

Whether I’m actually ready for what’s to come or not, at this point, it doesn’t really matter. There’s no waking up from a dream now. It’s begun.


A pilgrimage is an intensely personal journey, but it is not one that a pilgrim undertakes alone.  I don’t want to ‘talk’ into a vacuum.  I want to hear other voices, too.  What I’m trying to say is, I want feedback!  Have I spoken something to you?  Is there something you think I should know?  Do you have a question about something I said?  Please leave a comment below or contact me at

Also, follow me on the Pilgrim Shelter Facebook page to stay up to date on any new releases and for information about future posts. Thanks for reading!

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