All geared up!

Yesterday I did it. I braved REI. With the moral support of one of my besties, I actually set foot in the store and had a grand ol’ time picking out my backpacking backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, sleeping pad, and even a cute little pillow.

Here’s proof: ๐Ÿ™‚

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

The guys at REI were extremely helpful. I actually couldn’t have asked for better service, they worked so hard to figure out exactly what I needed. I ended up getting the Gregory Deva 60 pack. Originally I headed straight for the Osprey Ariel 75, but the guy, his name was Justin and he was hilarious, set me straight pretty fast. He put on this whole show about being “that American with the huge pack” bumping into everyone, and suddenly I did realize the benefits of a smaller pack. For one, easier to carry. Two, it will force me to consolidate and get creative with what I bring, which is good, because that equals less weight. And three, it’s just smarter. And the Gregory Deva is pretty comfortable too. I had my heart set on the Osprey, but after trying it on, it rubbed against my arms too much, and the Deva has a better overall fit for me. It’s still over the minimum recommendation that the World Race has for ‘cubit units,’ haha, so I am hoping with some practice that I will be just fine. I know I’ll be surprised with all that I CAN fit into it. It’s just a little intimidating!

I guess this blog will serve as a “hey I got this at the beginning of my race” memo, and then later on in the year, or at the end, I can really tell you how it all worked out for me, what I would or wouldn’t do over again.

So, back to stepping foot into REI.

See…I had been dreading this for a while. I think because I knew it needed to be done (oh my goodness training camp is creeping up FAST!), but also because it means I’m actually taking legit huge steps toward this becoming my reality! It’s not really even the money, because, WHEW, while it’s pretty costly to invest in all this gear, it’s exactly that, an investment into gear that will be my life for almost a whole year. Pretty worthwhile, yet still, not the easiest purchases I’ve ever made, but they will be well used!

I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around all these feelings that keep running around inside my head. Trying to capture them has been extremely difficult. Hence the long pause in blogging. I was trying to be good at it, but I think I needed a little break.

I was telling my friend that I’ve been a little torn up lately with how to feel and act about the World Race. On one side of it, I’m so excited to dive headfirst into these new relationships and this new experience and I absolutely can’t wait for all of the life-changing, super cool, challenging moments the Race will bring. But on the other side of it, those who know me well know that while I would “like” to easily embrace change, it’s actually really a HUGE struggle for me. I have gotten better over the years, but change has always thrown me for a loop.

Like the time I threw a fit on Easter because for the first time in years we didn’t dye Easter eggs. And I was really mad about it, because we’d always done it, and now we weren’t, and it messed everything up in my head ๐Ÿ˜›

True story. ๐Ÿ™‚

Like I said, I’ve gotten a LOT better over the years. But it still hurts a lot, this change.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy.
I tend to keep it to myself, this wrestling.
I only talk about it briefly, because I don’t really know what to tell people about it.
I don’t even really know what I myself thing about it.
It’s hard.
That’s just simply it.
Hard.
Change = hard.

I know it’ll be good.
I know it’ll be life-changing.
It’s going to rock my world.
I’m praying God does some huge things in my life.
I CAN’T WAIT to see how He shows up!
I know I’m going to look back on this and ask myself why I was so hesitant to embrace this. Because it was one of the best years of my life.

I wish I could explain this wrestling to you all, but maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about.

And please don’t get me wrong. I’m SO EXCITED to be doing this! This is EXACTLY where God has me, and I absolutely know it! I’m just being real with you about some thoughts and emotions wrattling their way through my brain this past month. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those of you who have told me that you’re proud of me, I couldn’t be more grateful.
I’m so humbled by your confidence in me and that you see Jesus in me.
Your support overwhelms me.

Support UPDATE!ย I’m 2/3rds of the way there. That’s $10,200+ raised so far.

Such a HUGE blessing. I am beyond amazing and overwhelmed.

Right now our squad is facing our first major deadline.
Would you join me in praying for those who have yet to raise the $3,500 needed to make it to Training Camp? Training Camp is a requirement for the World Race. And there are at least 8 beautiful people who are praying for a miracle to get there. They need their funds by July 1. I would love it if you would say a prayer for them, because we’re all believing and waiting for a miracle…God sure loves to do miracles, and He meets us each perfectly where we’re at…so I know that I know that I know that He’s up to BIG things this week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh yeah, and by the way, we were officially assigned our letter. <—AWESOME!
“What does this mean?”
Well…I am a part of a group of people going on particular route of 11 countries. This group of people is called a squadย (from there they’ll split us up into smaller teams of 5-8, but that will come later at training camp).

Theย first ever squad of World Racers was called A Squad.

There have now been so many routes/squads that they’ve gone through the alphabet once already and are going through it again.

This means that I am now a part of the 2nd-generation

—> J Squad <—

I love it!
It fits. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bottom line, God’s got this. He’s in this. He knows everything.

Perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18)

Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them. Whatever they ask shall be done for them. (Matthew 18:19-20)

 

[those 3 verses are paraphrased by me, just FYI]

I love you all! Thanks so much for following me, praying for me, and supporting me. You’re ROCKSTARS ๐Ÿ™‚

-Jess

 

Your thoughts would look GOOD here :)