My breathing synced with the rhythmic sound of my feet on the piney forest floor. Raindrops patted gently on the canopy far above me, but by the time the moisture descended, it was a mist—the kind that adds energy to a runner’s gait.
I stopped for a moment and looked around: trees, puddles, hill. I closed my eyes and listened: rain, insects, birds. I inhaled deeply and tasted the wet pine needles in the air. I felt peace. My resting body began to shiver as the fresh wetness beaded on my arms and legs, so I continued running. But I didn’t forget what I had experienced.
On that rainy August day, all alone on my morning run in Germany, I engaged my senses in my surroundings, and my heart and mind were filled with feelings of freedom, beauty, and awe. I created a memory—and now every time I run in the rain, I remember the wooded trails through the German countryside. Every time I smell an evergreen, I feel the contentment that filled me on that early-morning run.
We travel to have fun, to experience the world, and to meet and serve others. While doing all these meaningful things, we learn about ourselves. And we remember what we learn by using our senses. Taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight all enrich our experiences and help us remember them.
As you read this issue of Stowaway, don’t just see the words and photographs: let yourself be taken around the world. Listen to the subdued splash as your paddle dips in the still waters of the Bahamas. Smell the rich atmosphere in your ancestors’ homeland. Hear the movement of spools as Belgian lace-makers carry on a deep-rooted tradition. See yourself on the stairs that lead to nowhere in the Winchester Mansion. Taste the salty air on an isolated Brazilian beach.
Then go and find your own adventures. Leave your home—whether it’s for a day, week, month, or year—and make some memories. Engage your body; use your senses. Find yourself. And remember what you’ve found.