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I love walking. One of my favorite things about each of the times I've been abroad is the amount of walking I get to do. When I was in Graz or Oxford or Falmouth, I could just step out of the door on my own two feet, and I was off in an instant. I love that when I walk places, I get to truly experience and enjoy them. When I walk somewhere, I'm in the midst of it. I get the feel of it; I come to know it, like I and the place are old friends. I remember every turn and landmark in Oxford. We were there for a week, but even now, I could still find my way to St. Anne's in a heartbeat. This love of walking is one of the reasons I love college: we walk everywhere on campus. Sure, I have to drive and park my car, but once I've parked, I haul my backpack across Tech campus while wearing ankle boots. I want to live in a European walking city one day, so that I can experience this intimate knowledge of my places. The neighborhood where I grew up is out in the country, and we have no sidewalks. When my brothers and I were children, we spent hours on the bare asphalt of our crooked streets with Mom and Dad: riding bikes, going on walks, admiring the trees and the cool evening weather. We were trained at their sides to walk places. Now that I live away from home, I try to make a habit of going on long walks as often as I can. Usually this just means weekends -- I go to my favorite park and walk for about an hour -- but it can (and does) include my walks around campus in my everyday routine.

When I was younger, I used to go to a corner in our large backyard and simply walk around in circles for hours (actually, it was an oval shape). I did this so often that I wore a track in that little corner. The family called it (and still calls it) "the dog run". There were a couple of times that neighbors called Mom and Dad, asking them if I was okay. They had to explain that I was just making up stories in my head -- because I was. Walking in our backyard was a time to dream.

To this day, I equate walking with thinking and dreaming. My walk around "my" park here in Lubbock is basically a glorified, communal dog run from the backyard (and with more grass -- my corner had no grass to speak of, despite my dad's best efforts). I like to use walks to pray, or to think, or just to be alone with my brain, because there aren't a lot of times I get to do that. It's a time to practice thinking of what could be, even while surrounded by what is. It's a time to dream.

My walk to school

Why is it so important to practice dreaming? Dreaming reminds you of who you truly are, on the inside, apart from the hustle and bustle that may define both you and your schedule on the outside. Dreaming -- even daydreaming -- is important because it puts you in touch with who God made when He made you. And in that secret place in your soul, with your dreams -- that is where He meets you. That is where He longs to whisper into your ear Who He is and who He made you to be.

From a run near my house

Nowadays, on most of my walks, I put my headphones in my ears and listen to my beloved podcasts. While there's nothing wrong with this (I LOVE podcasts), I think it's incredibly important that I take the headphones out sometimes and practice being alone with just myself and Jesus and the quiet. The act of dreaming is a link to my own soul and where God meets me in it. Even in the last year, I have returned to some of my pet daydreams from when I was in junior high -- they have followed me across the years to remind me of my heart.

And it's incredibly important that I am reminded, because otherwise, I am prone to forget. I need to remember who I really am. I'm not the perfectionist -- not really. I'm a dreamer who longs to see her dreams come true.

May I continue to walk and dream. May I take my headphones out and remember who I am and who I've been made to be. May I see the sometime discrepancy between those two and right the wrongs I have done to myself by shutting out my soul. May we all use dreaming as a link to allow ourselves to be who we are. 

For we have been created to dream and adventure. May we never cease.

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