A Journey to Finding Home – #AtlasGirl

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Family Vacation

My beautiful family on vacation last summer!

When I was growing up my parents took us on a family vacation each summer. We would load up the van with all of our camping gear, some food staples and head out on our adventure.

We would have rented some family friendly cassette tapes from the library and sing along to “C is for cookie”. And we would work on a new latch-hook project (does anyone else remember those?!) It was a time of innocence and something that we all looked forward to.

We tent-camped, cooked our meals on a little Coleman stove and made smores almost every night. When we would get to the camp site we would drive around and look for the best site to put up our tent and then once that was done we would go exploring.

One vacation was to Yellowstone National Park. We had been there a day when the spot next to ours was filled with this HUGE pull behind camper. And out came this girl who was just about my age. I honestly can’t remember her name right now, but I am going to call her Cindy.

Cindy was from California and she was surely rich. I hadn’t ever been inside a pull behind camper before and it was AMAZING. Put our 5 man tent to shame and I instantly felt a little twinge of jealousy.

She had pegged-rolled jeans (something those of us from the midwest hadn’t experienced yet) and she just seemed to be so wise about the world at the young age of twelve. I wanted to be just like her.

We became fast friends and when we were at the campsite together we would explore and she would tell me stories of this wonderland called California. I was pretty sure that I needed to go there when I “grew up”, because it was THE place to be.

We exchanged addresses and maybe even a couple of letters after that first summer, but the friendship with Cindy didn’t last. What stuck with me though was that feeling that what I had in front of me wasn’t “good enough” and if I wanted better I would have to go far away to find it.

I graduated from high school, and my dreams of living in sunny California had long since passed. Staying close to home was comfortable, safe. And I like those feelings. I can talk big about wanting to travel but the reality is that where I am most at home IS at home. (<====Click to Tweet)

I didn’t value family when I was growing up. I wasn’t able to see all of the wonderful things that my parents did for us. I just felt like because I didn’t have what someone else did, that I didn’t measure up.

But becoming a parent myself has changed that vision. 

I know how hard my parent’s worked to provide for us and  especially when they planned these trips each summer, I am well aware of how much went into making these memory-filled experiences. And I am grateful for them. I hope that I can do the same for my own family.

Emily Weirenga went on a journey of her own to find herself. Today her new book Atlas Girl – Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look is released and it is a beautiful memoir of her finding home in the most unlikely of places. Emily left home believing that she wouldn’t return and yet God sought her in each place that she travelled. As she did some exploring of her own she found His healing hand, redemption from the hurts of her past and the road leading her back home.

Each of us are on a journey to finding home, this book will encourage and inspire you to trust God in the midst of trials and darkness, to seek His light in this dark world and find to home in Him, wherever that leads you.

Thank you for your beautiful words Emily, what a treasure this book of yours is!


Emily T. Wierenga, award-winning journalist and author of 4 books, has released her first memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look. They say the book is like “Girl Meets God” meets “Wild” meets “Eat, Pray, Love.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy here. I was given a copy of Emily’s book to read and review, from Baker Publishing Group, all opinions are my own.