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3 American Ideals That Didn’t Survive International Travel  

September 29, 2014


Over the past few years, deeply entrenched in the Introvert Camp, I have experienced a sense of comfort relative to my own personality. I’ve always known I loved my personal space, who doesn’t have a Bubble, right? But to say that I was a bit enamored with the freedom to exercise my rights to be alone, to stay disconnected, and do what I want?

Well, you would be embarrassingly accurate.

Up until this crazy vision happened where we sold all the things and packed what remained up into suitcases so we could travel and explore the world.

Due to my own lack of insight, I was terrifically, incredibly, tragically unprepared for three very, very integral things that cannot survive international travel and the Big Idea we are pursuing.

  1. Introversion
  2. Personal Space
  3. Independence

First of all,

…being alone becomes not your choice but reality if you are unwilling to step out beyond the comfort of self. You will be alone and lost.   Which is a very, very different feel from being alone by choice.


Suk in Old City, Jerusalem – Photo Credit: Dillon Stone –


Secondly… Personal space.

If you haven’t been on a plane in the last 20 years you may not realize how tiny the seats have become or how close everyone is while hurtling through the skies.   You are thisclose to all kinds of people with their own issues and idiosyncrasies.   And don’t even get me started on public transportation.


I just can’t even.


Egged Bus, Jerusalem – Photo Credit: Dillon Stone –


Thirdly? Independence is kinda the Not Funny Joke anymore. 

I couldn’t bring my car with me.   In fact, I don’t even have a car. We are learning to rely on bus schedules, train timetables, and plane departures to get us from point A to point B.   I am overcoming my own issues enough to ask strangers for route information, costs, and looking for apps like Moovit to keep us headed the right direction.

Now, fortunately, none of these three ideals are deal breakers. I recognise limitations and we try to make the best of each situation as it comes.   But what I am learning is far more important than doing my own thing in a very, very American way.


Mehane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem – Photo Credit: Dillon Stone –


I am re-discovering that people need to be touched and that I need to be touched by them.   Humanity is not to be relegated to intangibles viewed through a screen or vicariously through someone else’s words.

So, how am I surviving as an introvert with proximity issues and a need for independence?

  1. I am beginning to understand how much more I like finding friendly faces than I do being alone.
  2. Culturally, while I might get up close and personal with someone on the train? In one on one conversations, people do value your personal space. But don’t hesitate to shake hands or air-kiss if that’s what is cool.
  3. I can be as independent as I want as long as I have my iPhone, an extra charger, my bus card, and family around me.  And enough time to get where I’m going on the bus.  Yeah, I think it’s funny too.

One more thing that hasn’t been able to survive international travel and our Big Adventure?

Copious amounts of introspection.   Too much thinking and not enough doing will get me left behind.


Egged Bus, Jerusalem – Photo Credit: Isaac Stone –

But that’s a story for another day!

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  • The freedom to be alone, feels so much more empowering , fulfilling, and a treat- when it is a personal choice to disengange from the crowd. Do take time for that introspection as God changes your heart and mind and habits.

  • Heidi Stone

    Oh, we are making sure that we all have time to process, that’s a huge part of the slowness of our pace (intentional or otherwise). But I have been known to wallow in introspection to the point of getting nowhere and then getting bogged down by my own head/heart. Seeking a balance in this area.

  • Lori

    The Holy Land. It’ll change ya!

    • Heidi Stone

      Said in the “ocean man” voice? Of course??

  • Shelda McCullar

    This is so cool. An unexpected way that maybe God has taken to “open you up” a little to better serve others. 🙂

    • Heidi Stone

      Love that perspective. Wow. Thanks!