A Journey of a Thousand Miles 

One night, at a Chinese restaurant, I got a fortune cookie.

In it, the fortune read, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Wow, those words spoke to me! And at perfect timing, too. School was tough, friendships were getting hard, and I simply felt stuck.

So I took that fortune and did what I needed to do.

Ate a dozen strawberry sprinkle donuts by myself? No. But close.

I signed up to travel abroad.

And this is my journey of a thousand miles – literally. Except you have to add a couple more thousand to that. But you know what I mean.

Related: 10 Places You Must Go in Your 20s

The first week of July, I’ll embark on an adventure to Tanzania, where I’ll stay in a Masaai village. I’ll share someone else’s home and someone else’s family alongside new friends I meet before leaving on July 15 to do the craziest thing I’ve ever done:

Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro.

(How cute is this print from Poppy & Pinecone?!)

Standing just over 20,000 ft., Kiliminjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in the world (Everest is the tallest ever at close to 30,000 ft., but not free standing – just to clarify). I’ll turn 20 years old at 20,000 ft. I’ll know what it’s like to be on top of the world – and know what it’s like to push my body to its limits and in ways I’ve never pushed before.

I’ve spent the last 6 months preparing for this trip: packing, shopping for supplies, reading blog posts, praying over our travel with my team mates, and looking for the best outdoor camera equipment (of course). Two weeks ago I submitted my final payment for the trip. So it’s officially official. It’s been almost a week since I’ve gotten my ID card for Yellow Fever and I just finished my typhoid vaccine. This weekend I wrapped up my shopping with a huge trip to North Face and went through my packing list 2 or 3 times.

Holy geez, I’m really doing this!!! This is real life!!! I’m so excited. And so happy. And so thankful. And SO nervous. I’m not really scared since our guides are very experienced, and I know I’ll be safe, but I can’t help but wonder what sitting on the plane to Tanzania will feel like. It’ll probably feel like a breath of fresh air. It’ll probably feel so, so good.

I’ll be traveling and hiking with Young Life. I’ve been part of Young Life for about 6 years now, and I can’t even begin  to explain how happy it makes me.

Related: There You Are (Why I Love Young Life)

For the month of July, I’ll be hard to get in touch with, but I’ll try my very best to keep everyone updated as much as possible! For family members and friends, you are more than welcome to check out the Young Life blog for our trip that will be regularly updated while I am away from Always, S here and be sure to check out this webcam that live broadcasts from the top of Kilimanjaro! Look for me on the 19th and 20th :] I’ll definitely have some blog posts scheduled, so keep an eye out! As far as social media, I honestly have no idea how little or how much access I’ll have, so I’ll share as much as I can.  As always, you can follow along with my adventures on Instagram by following me @thealwaysblog and looking at my travel hashtag, #alwaysblogadventures. My personal account is @swraex if you just can’t get enough ;]

If you have any questions about my trip, please don’t hesitate to ask below, ask on social media (Twitter @alwaysrw), or email me directly: swraex@gmail.com. You can follow me on snapchat @swraex to stay updated until I fly out!

Next time you hear from me, I’ll have been 20 at 20,000 feet. I would have lived and worked alongside members of a Masaai tribe in their village, their home. And my life will most definitely probably be changed for forever. And I can’t wait to tell you about it.

What’s been your biggest adventure? How did you prep for it? Talk to me! 

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  • Courtney Drew

    Wow what an exciting adventure you are about to embark on! I am so excited for you and my one tip of advice, don’t forget to drink a ton of water! The last thing you want is to have to hike while dehydrated. Trust me on that one 😉 Safe Travels!

    xo CourtneyDrew

    • Savannah Ward

      That is SO true. We are bringing tons and tons of bottled water to avoid getting sick and I know how important it is to stay hydrated. I’m not much of a water drinker to be honest so I’m bringing flavored packets so I can keep drinking! Thanks for your advice! 🙂

  • Wow this is so exciting!!! I’ve always wanted to go to Tanzania and hike Kilimanjaro! I cannot WAIT to read about your trip!


    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks Tori!! I’m super excited too. I’m nervous (not as nervous as my Mom) but I know the nerves will go away the minute I step on that plane. Hope you had a great weekend!

  • I’m so excited for you! Kudos to you for taking the first step on your adventure 🙂


    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks Cristina! It was a big step for sure but I definitely think its one in the right direction. Happy Sunday!

  • How cool is this? I am beyond jealous. Have a blast pretty lady.
    xoxo, Jenny

    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks Jenny!! I can’t wait to come back and tell y’all all about it.

  • Greta Hollar

    Oh my gosh, this sounds amazing! I can’t wait to hear about your journey!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks so much Greta! I hope you have a great week! 🙂

  • Neely

    Truthfully I think marriage has been my biggest adventure! Its a crazy awesome ride!

    • Savannah Ward

      That’s the coolest thing to hear — I know my parents feel the exact same way. I can’t wait to go on that adventure of a lifetime!

  • mckenna bleu

    It’s crazy how some things just seem to speak to us at just the right timing! And what an awesome decision to make to study abroad! In my experience, traveling has been when i’ve made some of my best memories!

    • Savannah Ward

      I agree 100%. Some of the memories I’ll never forget have been on the road and somewhere new. I really think that getting the fortune was fate!

  • What an exciting news gurl! I’m sure you will have the best time ever and make most beautiful memories to cherish forever. Wishing you the best of luck for all your adventures!

    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks so much, Gurki!! I’m super excited to come back with a ton of pictures. Hope you have a great week!

  • Soon excited for you! Can’t wait to read all about it.

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlife.com

    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks Alix!! I can’t wait to share! Hope you had a great weekend!

  • Miss ALK

    Oh my gosh girl- this is so exciting! I’ll be thinking of and praying for safe travels for you!

    xoxo A

    • Savannah Ward

      Thanks so much, A! I really appreciate it 🙂

  • This is so exciting! I love when you said you turn 20 at 20,000 ft. What an amazing opportunity for you.

    • Savannah Ward

      Thank you!! I can’t wait for the moment we make it to the top. Its going to be so surreal!

  • I cannot begin to explain how excited I am for you!!! The adventure of a lifetime!

    • Savannah Ward

      I’m SO excited!! Thanks for reading and following along. I love reading about all of your travels!

  • Amy

    No joke, five minutes before I opened your post I read the quote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” somewhere on Facebook. Is this a sign?? Anyways, I’m super excited for your adventure and wishing you safe travels!


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    • Savannah Ward

      OMG! That’s so weird! What a coincidence. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to post all about it when I’m back.

  • How exciting! I wish you the best of luck on your quest to hike Mt Kiliminjaro. Praying that you have safe travels and a safe return.

  • Praying for safe travels! Take lots of photos, we want to see every detail! XO