May 20, 2017
By Garrett Gross
The Start in France
I never could figure out where it all started. Maybe it was the mission trip I went on as an adolescent to assist in the relief effort in Haiti after the earth quake struck, joining the army, a cruise I took to the Bahamas, fighting in the war in Afghanistan or being stationed in Germany for over two years. I wouldn’t call it a void because it was never completely empty. However like a buckets purpose is to be filled, I’ve always had this drive, an ambition to find myself. After each journey I began to notice that my own internal bucket, my soul, collected small bits and pieces along the way. They didn’t weigh me down or sit just as objects taking up space, they grew like seeds planted in a garden and produced a new crop within myself. My body harvested every crop to provide nourishment for my spirit. Allowing the qualities I currently possess to strengthen and show more clearly.
I experienced great joy, excitement, an eagerness to learn and immerse myself in others cultures and way of life while on each adventure. In each location a submerged treasure chest awaited, held down by an anchor and locked.
For a while I had trouble finding these hidden troves of treasure. It wasn’t until I realized I was the anchor preventing the chest from coming to the surface that I began to change. My links were strong, my weight came from all my preconceived notions my small world I voyaged in had come to teach me. I became more receptive of the uniqueness of each place and my surroundings and started to perceive things differently. My anchor became a balloon and my links a string, allowing me to easily bring the once lost treasure to the surface. Still locked, I needed the key to open it. Unknowingly I had been given it already, it disguised itself in the form of a thought. As long as my mind remained locked to change, so would the chest. Each place the treasures became easier to find holding inside greater rewards. The treasures held within weren’t gold, diamonds or things to hoard and sell for profit. No, each chest contained those seeds, those same seeds that allowed me to grow. Just enough to produce a crop inside of me and extras to spread along my future journeys.
I still had this unfulfilled feeling and I couldn’t grasp why. Until I changed something that made traveling really change my life. When I first set off on my own. Stationed in Germany at the time, I was waiting to get released from work to start my vacation time. Everything I ever do is almost always planned down to the very last detail at work or in my personal time. Not this time, this time something inside of me was just screaming “GO”. With no planning, not even knowing where I was going to sleep. I packed my suitcase, grabbed my camera and set off on the road to France. I had a burning passion to drive along the coast of Normandy to visit every landing site from D-Day, during WWII.
The adrenaline never seemed to stop until I arrived on my first leg of the trip in Paris, France. I spent the next two nights there, speechless and amazed by all the history and everything I was seeing and experiencing. My last night, I sat on the grass of The Champ De Mars, staring for hours at the Eiffel Tower. Losing myself in thought, a million miles away from reality. Its lights filled the night sky for miles and brought on a warm, tranquil feeling.
Au revoir Paris, I whispered to myself as I got into my car to hit the road again. My sights now set on Sword beach. Along the coast and through the country side I traveled to every landing site ending with Utah Beach. Stopping at each to pay my respects to all the men that so bravely fought and died here in France.
After this experience, it became apparent for the rest of my life I would continue to strive to see as much of the world as possible. Since then, I continue to tell myself the world has many untold stories from people waiting to be told. Memories to be created and experiences to be had.
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About the Author
I try to find the positive in every situation. Recently just moved back to America from Germany where I was living the last 2 years. Most of the places I've traveled are throughout Europe. I enjoy going out and taking photos and writing in my free time.