The {Empty} Travel Moleskine

It usually happens along I-83 somewhere between Harrisburg and the outer loop of the Baltimore beltway. I’ll be cruising along, singing along with whatever’s playing over the car radio. (Admit it, you do it, too.) Suddenly, I’ll remember something that I forgot to pack.

Fortunately my great moment of memory usually happens before the one exit at which I can make an easy on and off stop to pick up the needed items. Over the years, I’ve purchased pantyhose, toothpaste, brushes, pens, contact solution and who knows what else at that conveniently located Wal-Mart.

Last January 1, though, I didn’t remember until I was in the thick of the beltway traffic, which was surprisingly robust for that time of day on a holiday. It dawned on me that I had not packed a journal.

Generally, I’m meticulous about journaling while traveling. I write down everything – what I saw, where I ate, who I talked to, what the speakers said if I was at a conference. Part of me thinks that when I’m old I’ll enjoy looking back over the books and reading about my wanderings. The other part is terrified that when I get old I’ll forget that I wandered at all.

So I decided to treat myself to a new Moleskine notebook when I got to the airport.

Traffic turned out to be rougher than I thought and the shuttle ride from longterm parking to the terminal seemed to take just slightly to this side of eternity. It was getting ever closer to the boarding time, making it less and less likely that I would have time to sprint to a bookstore in the terminal.

I made it through security relatively quickly, chucked my shoes back on, tucked my ID and ticket away and headed toward the shops. Clearly, the lines were too long to score some pre-flight fast food, but surely the bookstore would be empty.

It was. Moments later, I had a small, black Moleskine. I hustled back to my gate where boarding was just getting underway.

When the captain told us we could now use approved electronic devices, I pulled out my iPod and Moleskine. I opened it to the inside cover where I wrote what you see in the photo above. This was supposed to be a busy travel year. I was going to co-lead a mission trip to Sweden. I would be going to Texas for meetings for The Seed Company. And, if things worked out right, I would go to the Allume conference on October.

It would be a great year for a responsible, stay-at-home girl with a wayfaring, explorer’s heart.

Over the next few days, I used it to journal through Passion 2012. I took notes on Francis Chan’s and John Piper’s talks (the only two that I saw in their entirety due to my schedule as a volunteer in the student prayer area). I wrote about the art installation going up on the plaza and the students I talked to and the God who talked to me. My last notes were from part of Louie Giglio’s message in the final session.

They turned out to be the last notes I would write all year in the small, black travel Moleskine.

The trip to Sweden was cancelled. My role at The Seed Company changed so I wouldn’t be going to the meetings. Finances were tight when tickets to Allume were available. Now, I can come up with the money, but the conference is sold out.

I suppose there’s some hope that a last-minute travel opportunity will come along, but it isn’t likely.

The wayfarer is staying home home.

It’s disappointing. And that’s where I’m at with it right now. Sure, I filled the gaps with great experiences with my friends and family, but not everything works out with that cinematic moment when you say, “Oh, yes, I see why things worked out the way they did.”

And you know what?

That’s OK.


And, that’s the way it was on the day I wrote this post and left it languishing in the drafts. I didn’t know how to end it. What’s the point? Maybe the whole point was that it’s OK to be disappointed when things don’t turn out the way they should.

Or maybe, just maybe, God wasn’t finished with the story yet.

The very next day after I wrote the above post, someone on Twitter announced that they had a ticket for sale. Not-so-long story even shorter, I will be going to Allume in October if all the transferring takes place as expected.

So, the story goes on. The wayfarer is wandering off again.

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