Hannah Tissue, Anna Hershey, Michelle Miller, Taylor Swantz, and Linnea Slabaugh pose with a great view Beauty. If I had one word to describe my time here so far, I would have to choose that one. The energy of the Egyptians, the hospitality of the Bedouins in Jordan, the honor and passion I saw in every Palestinian, and the diverse landscapes of Israel all fall into this one-word description. All of this has been beauty in my eyes; the question is, how do I capture it?

Pictures? Maybe.
Videos? Closer.

My camera can only go so far. I have realized that the lens that I see is different from what everyone else is taking in, and what we take from it will make one big collage of all of our experiences. I wish I could just bottle them all up for a forever keepsake, but I can’t.

I have come to accept that taking in every single moment is impossible. Being able to account for every mountain top I saw or to recite every Arabic word I learned is not going to happen.

This past week was a week of independent travel. During this time I had a lot of time to reflect on my trip so far and to really soak in my experiences. I quickly realized that I don’t want to sit back quite yet, for this journey is not over. I came to the conclusion that I want to wholeheartedly relish every moment, even if it means getting soaked to the bone or climbing 7,000 feet to get there. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will be gone in the blink of an eye, and I want my eyes to be wide open during all of it.

-Michelle Miller