Many of you may already be familiar with Emily Perl Kingsley’s inspiring essay Welcome to Holland. Written in 1987, it’s been around for awhile. Still, I don’t recall ever having read it or even having heard of it until after our flight had landed.
If you haven’t seen it, the rest of this post won’t make as much sense unless you read it first. And while you may never get to go to Holland in the sense she describes, I think this insightful essay has many applications since we all have unexpected destinations in life. Read it—it’ll just take a minute—and it may help you enjoy your own journey more.
Several days ago I was relaying the gist of the essay to my children, explaining the analogy to my youngest ones. I summed up by saying how silly it would be to miss out on the beauties of Holland by being hung up on not getting to go to Italy. They agreed. Imagine how my heart nearly burst with emotion and I laughed out loud when Caleb piped up, “Yeah, ’cause you’ve already been to Italy five times!”
Still, like most families planning a trip, we would have chosen Italy over Holland. We knew nothing of Holland, so we wouldn’t have felt as secure going there. Italy would have seemed safer. And while Italy’s terrain isn’t always easy, at least it’s familiar. We’ve traveled the roads. We know the landmarks.
But our Travel Agent had other plans and, in fact, He booked us this trip to Holland long ago. We didn’t end up here by accident. Although Holland was our unexpected destination, our arrival was no mistake.
We’ve met lots of nice folks here in Holland—beautiful families we’d have never known if we had gone to Italy. And most of them have been here longer than we have, so help is always around the corner if we need some guidance. And, of course, our all-knowing Travel Agent is on call 24/7.
It’s hard to believe that years ago we had absolutely no interest in ever visiting Italy, let alone Holland. But we have an amazing Travel Agent who knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we truly want, what we truly need, and what is truly best.
How did he know how much we’d love going to Italy time and again, or that a visit to Holland would be just perfect this time?