This Grand, Extraordinary Adventure

this grand, extraordinary adventure | kaileenelise.com

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. (Joseph Campbell)

When I first started blogging, I was fortunate to become "online friends" with a small tribe of fellow bloggers. We followed each other, had video chat dates, and supported one another through the ups and downs of life.  I was always surprised by how we were able to connect so deeply without ever having met in person. To this day, I keep tabs on these girls through social media, emails, hand-written notes, and text messages.

Chelsa Bea is one of those bloggers. If you aren’t following her on This Grand Adventure, hurry over and check it out. Her style, recipes, and overall approach to life are inspiring! We first connected through a holiday gift swap. Afterwards, she asked if I wanted to become pen pals, which was such a gift in itself.

That small act taught me an important lesson about being intentional with friendships.

If you’ve ever watched children on a playground, you can hear them say, “Let’s be friends!” Adults rarely do this, and it's a shame. In the past few years, I have become more anxious about new friendships. Some of the unnecessary excuses I tell myself include, "I already have friends," or the classic, "It takes so much work to make new friends." Anyone who has a good friend knows this just isn't true! At most, new friends require a little bit of courage and some attention... but it's totally worth it.

this grand, extraordinary adventure | kaileenelise.com

Chelsea and I supported each other through exciting changes and some of life’s speed bumps. She got married! I got engaged! We updated our address books several times as each of us moved. We both quit blogging, and then encouraged the other to come back to it. We share a passion for celebrating everyday life and going on adventures, big and small!

As we created this lasting friendship, we talked about meeting up... and it finally happened this past weekend! Before her visit, I was tempted to read through the letters we’ve exchanged, but I resisted the urge. Instead, I trusted that we knew each other and told myself that we'd get along just fine.

Of course, we caught up just like girlfriends do. We chatted poolside, had some serious real talk over chips & queso, and put the pieces together one-by-one. I hoped our friendship would feel genuine and natural in real life… and it did! It was like meeting an old friend after years apart.

I’ve been living in Austin for a full year now, so it was fun to show Chelsea around my new city. There are so many things to do here and the weather was perfect! We walked around town, ate some delicious food, and sipped craft cocktails. We had the most delightful time. As I reflect on the weekend, I feel happy and grateful — for the internet, blogging besties, and friendships.

Image credit: Chelsa Bea of This Grand Adventure