A Little Bravery Goes a Long Way

Karissa Johnson

Karissa Johnson

Dear Diary,

Three years ago, I did something a little crazy—okay, maybe not crazy, but a little brave. I got on a plane to go abroad for the first time—alone.  I didn’t know who would be meeting me on the other side of the Atlantic, but I had a feeling that it would all work out. Five continents and sixteen countries later, I’d say that it all worked out.

Right now I’m sitting in the living room of the Blackman family in Luton, England. A family friend, Bishop Maurice Green, from Texas connected me with the Blackmans and they adopted me into their lovely family when I came to Luton. I can’t believe I’m back where it all started. It feels so surreal. Coming here was a nice change of pace after a month of exploring Italy and Germany.

Just a few weeks ago, I ventured off to Hamburg, Germany. A friend of mine from Nebraska was cast in the German version of The Lion King (König der Löwen) in Hamburg and he invited me to come see the show. He gave me a free ticket and I was invited to go backstage and meet the rest of the cast. Un-be-lievable!  Their poise, charisma, and confidence blew me away! After the heart-touching and tear-jerking performance, the cast still had enough energy to put on their own showcase where singers and dancers displayed their extraordinary talents. I was in awe.

It seems like I’ve been surrounded by performers throughout this trip. Yesterday in London, I saw street performers who did magic tricks, contortion, and breakdancing. There seems to be this new craze with floating street performers too. I think I’ve figured it out though. They didn’t fool me! Two weeks ago, I was in Neu Wulmstorf, Germany with my adopted German parents watching the Young Americans practice for their show. During one of the breaks, the director came over to me and introduced himself. I chatted with him for a bit and mentioned my home state. A few minutes later, he introduced me to the crew and told them that I was from Nebraska. Immediately, cheers went out from who I assumed were fellow Nebraskans. My assumption was spot on.

A Little Bravery Pic 2

Karissa Johnson

One of the Nebraskans came up to me and introduced herself. Her name was Danielle and she was from Papillion. I was shocked and told her that I was from La Vista. She said, “Well, I only say Papillion because more people know it, but I’m from La Vista too!” We both laughed and found out that we graduated ten years apart from the same high school. She was the confirmation that I was looking for. Minutes before the director introduced me, I whispered this prayer in my heart:  “Lord, show me if I’m at the right place at the right time. Give me a sign that I’m where You want me.” I didn’t know how He would speak. I didn’t know when He would speak, but He spoke. I was in the right place. It was the right time. I was positioned correctly and He decided to be very specific and assure me in the most detailed way.

As I walked to the parking lot with my German mom and dad after the concert, I couldn’t help but weep. I was overwhelmed by their generosity. I was overwhelmed by the talented cast. I was overwhelmed by my fellow alumnae. I was just overwhelmed—in the most beautiful way.

Every time I get crazy enough—I mean, brave enough— to get on another plane, I connect with some of the most beautiful people on Earth. I connect with people who have their hands out to give. I’m stretched and humbled. I’m challenged to do more, be more, and give more.

As I sit in this cozy living room and get ready to call it a night, I love that fact that a little bravery introduced me to another part of the world. Bravery takes me to places that fear will never see. I can’t help but wonder where will bravery take me next?

I love that fact that a little bravery introduced me to another part of the world.

Love Always,

Karissa from La Vista

Karissa Johnson is a licensed evangelist, certified educator, and a daring explorer. In the last three years she taught English at two universities in Saudi Arabia and at one English language school in China. When she’s home in Nebraska, this military brat and preacher’s kid loves singing with her three sisters, mentoring youth, and prison ministry. Karissa is a graduate of Oral Roberts University where she received her BA in International Community Development. This stroke survivor started traveling abroad in 2011 and has since traveled to over 20 countries on all seven continents. She accomplished her goal of seeing all seven continents by 30. Karissa is currently writing a book about her adventures around the globe. Visit sevenby30.com to connect with Karissa through social media.