Let’s start over.
Growing up, there was a cornfield across from my house. On the other side of that was the railroad track that cuts through town. The train still comes through twice a day. More, if the freight is good. I remember standing on my front porch as those trains rolled through, staring at the open doors on all those empty container cars, wondering where that train was going. How long it would take to get there. How easy it would be to hop on.
I wanted to see the world. Chuck it all. Run away. I wanted to leave home and see the country.
Never happened, of course. But it did for Allison Vesterfelt. She left her home in Portland at age 26 with a friend, some bags, and a single plan—to visit all 50 states. The chronicle of her adventure (and that’s what it turned out to be) is found in her book, Packing Light.
Ally’s book caught me. She tells her story with a refreshing honesty, including just how frightening it can be to do something extraordinary. Imagine leaving everything behind—your job, your home, your family—and lighting out into the territory. Thrilling? Yes. Scary? Absolutely.
And yet Ally did it anyway, and on the other side found blessings that will comfort her for the rest of her life. That, really, is what this book is about—the lessons she learned along the way.
Things like embracing the unexpected. Changing your expectations. Losing your way. Choosing your path. Hers is a reminder that the great and mighty More a lot of us want in life really won’t bring us happiness. Most times, the peace we crave comes in having less.
“Knowing how valuable you are,” she writes, “and acknowledging your tiny role in a larger story is a difficult balance to strike. It’s easy to see one or the other, but it’s difficult to hang on to both at the same time. It stretches us, like a kid reaching for the next rung of a monkey bar, until eventually we find our arms stretched out wide.”
To me, that’s the best part of what Ally accomplished. Like all adventures, she went looking for the world and found herself.
Packing Light is a great read, and I highly recommend it. To learn more, visit the Packing Light page on Amazon.