Friday, June 22, 2018

How Eating Snails Changed My Life

As I grabbed my backpack and walked toward the van taking us to SeaTac, my friends and I were surrounded by crying, fear struck family members. There was this nervous air surrounding us, yet I didn’t quite understand why. Was going to North Africa really going to be that scary? 

When I get asked as to why I like to travel, the first thing I say is, “To experience new cultures and meet amazing people.” Having lived in America all my life, I started creating this safe little bubble. The starving kids or hurricane-ravaged cities seemed so far away. Those countries and people living in them started to become “others” to me.

When I began to tell people I was going to North Africa back in March 2016, the first thing they’d say to me was normally along the lines of, “Is that really safe?” Or “You should probably go somewhere more welcoming.” Yet, not one of these people had visited the country I was going to. 

While on my trip, some of my friends and I visited a woman living in one of North Africa’s larger cities. Without even knowing who we were, she welcomed us into her tiny home with open arms. Right away, we were sat down and given food. We laughed together as we watched Saudi Arabian soap dramas and drank mint tea. Through a translator, she told us her story, crying as she held up pictures of her loved ones. Her story was a sad one, with her husband having another family he lives with and the struggle to provide for her children, yet there was so much giving in her. Even with the language barrier, I felt so connected with this lady. Leaving was the hardest part, for as she gave me a kiss on each cheek, I couldn’t help but think that I would never see her again. 

This woman was one of the people my friends and family were telling me was unsafe, merely because she lived in North Africa and didn't have the same privileges many of us in Western cultures have. 

This is why traveling is so valuable. The people I met along the way showed me just how ignorant of a life I had been living. Suddenly, they became real people with real problems, feelings, and families. People with real lives. No longer was I an outsider, living on the other side of the world, pretending to know how these people live, act and interact with one another. Instead, I was being welcomed into their homes and treated like one of them. And not because I asked to, but because they wanted me to.

As I prepare to leave for North Africa once again in the fall, I call out the crying and the “it’s not safe over there.” I tell my friends and family about being welcomed into homes of strangers and being taught how to make traditional meals, or being brought to “secret” local places and tricked into eating snails. I talk about the friendliness and love I experienced by almost every single person I met. The laughs, tears, hugs, and blessings. But most of all, I urge them to go. 

I urge them to go out of their comfort zones and greet the world like friends. To not deem places of being unsafe because of appearance, the media, or prejudice. I urge them to go experience the world outside of the tiny bubble the people of America have created for themselves. Because that is what changed my life.

Will you let it change yours? 

What will you do? Don't feel like traveling is scary, or even unattainable. Go experience this beautifully diverse world we live in. Don't shy away from sharing the gospel and loving the people in every corner of the world you travel to. Step out of your comfort zone. Do it! You will never regret it.

If you would like to learn more about my upcoming travels, shoot me an email at

Happy Traveling!



  1. Experiences like this are amazing! I've never traveled out of the US but I dream of it one day - however, I've seen how vital it is to get out of your comfort zone!

  2. I love this! I have been itching to travel for forever, but God hasn't opened those doors for me yet. I'm glad you have been able to experience all this first hand and want to share how one shouldn't be scared to travel, even to places that may seem unsafe or uncomfortable. <3

  3. this is so beautiful.
    north africa is a dream destination of mine, and i can't wait to be able to go someday. i've been blessed with the opportunity to have gotten to travel quite a bit for my age, and i definitely have the travel bug. i can't wait to see where God takes me!
    thank you for sharing, Elizabeth!

  4. thank you so much for those words. i recently came back from Africa and before i went i had SO many people speak fear into my trip.. as far as safety concerns and such. BUT never have i experienced such a life changing world shaping trip. I grew so much in my faith & overall appreciation for the truly privileged life i have. Traveling is one of the most amazing things you cane ever do XD XD
    The Ramblings of a Bookworm

  5. I like your blog. Its actually saying that travelling is fun whether alone or with friends. 'Coz basically you will meet new people along while you were travelling and the memories you had there will be cherished. Thank you!


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