Ruthie Lindsey is the author of the memoir There I Am, The Journey From Hopelessness To Healing, as well as a Nashville-based speaker, and cohost of the Unspoken podcast. In the final installment of our Discover Your Yellow series with Expedia, Ruthie takes us on a deep dive into the healing power of travel.
Ruthie shares a remarkable story of surviving an accident where she had a five percent chance to live and a one percent chance to walk as a teenager and the surgery that simultaneously saved and destroyed her body. As a young woman, chronic pain slowly pulled Ruthie away from everything she once held dear: her marriage, her faith, her family, her body, her very self. But her message is one of strength and resilience, the faith she lost and rebuilt in herself, and the power of sharing our stories. Ruthie challenges audiences to find the healing that is inside of all of us. She has spoken alongside renowned activists and writers such as Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, Rachel Hollis and Sophia Bush.
When Expedia invited us along with Ruthie on a trip to Kauai, Hawaii, last year she had the opportunity to explore her relationship with the natural world through new experiences, from reaching hidden waterfalls by kayak to snorkeling along the island’s stunning shoreline. All the while, she encountered beauty made up of all the colors, moods, and nuances that she has come to love so dearly on her journey, but seen in a golden, yellow light unique to her surroundings. The color yellow seemed to greet her at every step of the way, reminding her to treasure every circumstance in life for what it is, a lesson learned over the years of her life that led to these moments.
You’re passionate about how we as humans heal and how nature can help with that process. How was going to Hawaii an example of that for you?
Spending time in Mother Nature is always such a gift to me, and spending time in one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth was absolutely incredible. From sailing along the Napali coast to hiking the most gorgeous mountain trails to finding hidden waterfalls, I was in a constant state of awe.
After not being able to travel for seven years and being bed-ridden, what does travel mean to you now?
It always feels like a gift. It’s not lost on me what an absolute privilege it is to travel. Every sunset feels like a miracle because I didn’t see a sunset for so many years. I was scared to travel because I thought I didn’t do anything that would make my pain feel worse, so I did nothing because I thought I might end up with even more pain. Changing my views around that and traveling despite the cost on my body has been such an expansive shift for me. Every person I get to meet, beautiful sight I get to see, and delicious meal I get to try all feel so life giving to me.
“Pain is universal — but it’s also an invitation to come home to yourself.”
Does the color yellow have a specific meaning for you? How would you say that it affects your life?
Yellow is the color that inspires me to find healing and it evokes so much joy for me. It reminds me of the sun and brightness and hope. Even if I am having a really bad day physically, if I get myself up and out to go watch a sunset or sunrise, something inside of me shifts and I am brought back to the present moment. It reminds me of all the goodness I have in my life right now–all the things that are going so right.
You traveled to Hawaii with Expedia. How did that make a difference in your journey and the way the trip was planned?
IT WAS MAGICAL. I was amazed at how seamless everything went. From our flights to rental cars to hotels, it all went so so smoothly and perfectly.
You have a number of creative projects: an upcoming book, a successful podcast, and speaking engagements. How does travel motivate you to take these on?
I am a people person and I don’t want my communication with my readers and followers to be just through a screen. I want to meet people, hear their stories, and learn about their lives. Real connection happens when you can look someone in the eye. I love having the opportunity to do that. It’s so life giving to me.
“When you numb the hard, painful things, you also numb the beautiful experiences.”
What advice would you give to someone who wants to heal through travel?
One of my favorite quotes about travel is “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” by Mark Twain. Travel has opened my eyes to so many different cultures and it’s healing to realize how connected we all truly are. My life is forever impacted by the beautiful souls I have met from around the world. They have helped to open my worldview and it’s so much more expansive now.
What are your plans for future projects? Travels?
I am headed to Morocco in two weeks and Israel a few weeks after that. I am also going on tour in April for the release of my new book: “There I Am: The Journey from Hopelessness To Healing.” I am so excited for all the people I am going to meet and the beautiful landscapes I will see!