Well, I'm back. On the 5th of February, I left on a missions trip to Costa Rica. I remained there until the 15th; praying, working, playing, and fellowshipping with people from Costa Rica and with people from the States.
The interesting thing about this trip was that everyone in the group which traveled down there was from my area. And we had been having meetings for months beforehand, so I vaguely knew them (or, at least, recognized them) by the time we arrived in Costa Rica. Funnily, what struck me the most about all of them was that even though we lived in such close proximity, our ideologies were so different. This wasn't a small bit of theology like baptizing forward or backward, this was vast differences in theology. This was differences in how we looked at the world. Sure, the basis was same, we were all Christians, but when we got to the finer points of theology our views differed.
For me, a homeschooler that's used to only interacting with different people over the internet, this was quite disorienting. And I was having a difficult enough time as it was (I don't like traveling to begin with) but when I had to face having my bubble broken, it was near terrifying.
Yet, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
See, it is easy to be theologically and emotionally firm when there are no conflicts that I must face. As long as everyone agrees with me, I have no inner conflict of whether I am right or not. Yet, without conflict there is no growth. My comfort zone must be breached, my bubble must be popped in order for me to truly develop as a person. I hate it (oh, I hate it), but it is a necessary part of growing up.
How does this relate to writing (as a writer, everything eventually comes back to writing)? A writer should be a traveler. Why? In order to understand how the world works. A good writer should not just create escapist fantasy, but should reveal truths about the world to the reader. In order to reveal those truths, I must learn them myself. In order to reveal them to a reader, I must write a compelling story in which to encapsulate the truths. And in order to write a compelling story, I must understand other people in order to create proper characters, settings, and plots.
So travel is important. Whether it is leaving the continent, the country, or just walking out my front door: meeting other people is important. Experiencing other places is important. Forming relationships is important. But none of that can be done, if my personal bubble pushes them away. In order to experience life, I must pop the bubble.