Something about this time of year makes it the best time of the year to many. Whether it’s time with friends and family, a time to step back and look at your life in a new perspective, or just the joyfulness that fills the streets, this time of the year is magical. For us, however, this time of year started off not as lovely as we had dreamed. Although, the Lord has now changed our hearts and has made it a great time of the year for us too!
The Beginning of The Best Time of The Year…
Heading into Jason’s last module, we knew come December 12th we were going to have a month and a half off. As his classmates were gearing up for trips back home, our plans were up in the air. We typically don’t plan things too far in advance anyways… remember when we bought tickets to Thailand for a month just 10 days before leaving? Or when we booked a trip to Italy for a week just days before taking off? Last minute travel is our middle name, however, this time of the year brought on a bit more pressure.
With it being the holiday season, everyone was asking if we were going “home” for Christmas. Daily we debated going back to Oregon to visit friends and family during this time. We even began arranging possible rides from Portland to Grants Pass just in case we flew back to Oregon. What we were doing over Christmas break was literally the first thing talked about in the morning and the last thing we discussed before heading to bed. To be honest, it was stressing us both out. It was overwhelming, and quite honestly not at all how the beginning of a Christmas break should feel like. Nor what the Lord intended the Christmas season to be.
We had some things keeping us in Aberdeen till the 18th of December, and from there we didn’t know if we would need to be in town longer or not. We quickly realized there was no point to stay in Aberdeen, so on Sunday the 18th, we started looking for tickets out of Scotland. (At that point, we were quite fed up with some things going on in Aberdeen, and just wanted to get out of the country entirely.)
Making a Decision…
When we sat down and seriously discussed what in the world we were going to do from mid-December through the end of January, we still couldn’t decide on anything. Flying back to Oregon was out of the question so late in the game. However, we had so many other ideas floating around. We landed on flying to Belgium to visit Jan, a friend from Jason’s study abroad program in Finland. We booked a morning flight for Tuesday the 20th and planned on spending four days with Jan before finding a cozy cottage somewhere in the countryside to spend Christmas. Which countryside you ask?! We still had no idea! And what we would do after Christmas.. again.. no clue!
Our third night with our friends, we made a game plan. After hours of searching for places we may want to visit, Sarah (Jan’s girlfriend and our new friend) suggested we head to Dinant – a tiny village in the south of Belgium. We booked a train and a bed and breakfast for three days and were really looking forward to Christmas in a cozy B and B.
We’re now still living on the edge of our seats, not really knowing what’s coming up next for us. We have just under a month left of this vacation time and are still debating what we’ll be doing. Currently, we’re in France, with plans of being here for the next week. We’re exploring the Champagne region now and will be visiting Paris for a couple days just after the New Year. We don’t have anything further planned from there, however, have a few ideas we’re tossing around for the time being.
You Live and Learn, and Learn Again…
Being back on the road traveling like this has brought back so many memories of South America. We’re constantly reminded of how joyful we were while backpacking with nothing planned further than a few days out. Although this time started off a bit stressful, we’re now in the groove of us, of “ArboursAbroad”. And even with Jason having to write a paper during our holiday, and Heather having to keep up with work on the blog, we’re truly enjoying how we’re spending our Christmas break.
As cliche as it sounds, this trip thus far has really allowed us to refocus on what matters most in our lives. The Lord is using this trip to reveal to us things that were completely unseen. We’re again talking about new goals and dreams we have, and really getting time to step back and see all the possibilities that lie before us. And let us tell you, it’s so refreshing when we can see the Lord shining so brightly in our lives.
Keeping Up-To-Date This Time of the Year…
If you want to keep up to date with our travels this month and see a bit of daily insight into our lives, check out our @arboursabroad Instagram stories. They’re easy to keep up with and don’t take much time…plus it’s way too fun trying to capture each other in secrecy!
Our posts on here (the blog), along with Facebook and Instagram photos will be from previous adventures we’ve had. As crazy as it sounds, more of our Christmas break adventures will be shared probably come February. Man, that seems so far away!! It’s more work than you may think prepping posts around here! 😉 So for now, be sure to check out our Instagram stories to stay up-to-date on the most wonderful time of the year wherever it may take us!
We truly are wishing you all a very special and warm holiday season. With hopes of it being filled with joy and minimal stress and heartache for you as possible. We’re praising Jesus for this time of year, and just pray blessings over you all for the new year coming.
Thanks for following along on this journey with us. We can’t wait to see what 2017 is going to bring!
Heather and Jason