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Exclusive Interview with TaRanda Greene: Places You Love Most

Inspiration Travel

13 MIN READ

05/15/2024

TaRanda Greene is a familiar face on our cruise and tour itineraries, whether she has performed solo, with Cana’s Voice or as part of the Gaither Homecoming community. Our passengers love her powerful voice as well as her testimony and storytelling. From Gospel Music Celebration cruises to biblical tours of Israel, we always love spending time with her and witnessing how she connects with fans.

Like many of our guest artists, TaRanda is as passionate about travel as she is about music. We spoke to her about why she loves getting away, what destinations remain on her bucket list and some of her most memorable travel experiences.

Readers love a funny travel moment. What happened?

A few years ago, on a Gospel Music Celebration Caribbean Cruise, I begged my husband, Landon, to go horseback riding with me on the beach at Half Moon Cay. He insisted that horses were not fond of him, but I was sure he was being dramatic.

He eventually agreed to go, but I quickly learned that he had been telling the absolute truth. Horses hate him! Everything seemed fine as we rode into the water until I realized, looking around, I couldn’t find Landon anywhere.

From behind the group came a high-pitched scream, and as I turned around, I saw Landon and his horse headed out to sea. Landon was screaming, “Get me back! Get me back!” Luckily, the islander who was assisting with the tour was able to guide Landon’s horse back to our group. That is, directly through a trail of horse droppings.

What three things can you not travel without?

I cannot travel without:

  • My skin moisturizer
  • Water
  • Cure electrolyte powders

That’s three things, but one more thing—my phone. I guess I can travel without my phone, but it’s not, you know, the most convenient.

I had a situation a couple of weeks ago where my phone stopped working, so I carried around my gigantic iPad that, thank the Lord, still receives Wi-Fi. But I could only communicate when Wi-Fi was available. I felt like one of my kids walking in and asking, “Hey, what’s your Wi-Fi password?” all weekend.

What is a memorable meal or restaurant you experienced during your travels?

While my dad and I were in Jaffa (Israel) with Inspiration, we had the afternoon to walk around and explore the city. We found what we would call a “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant where neither of us could read the menu. We were so tickled listening to each other try to pronounce the words on this menu.

We thought we ordered something like Coke to drink but instead received a grape soda. Then we ordered what we thought was hummus, but it was tzatziki. We were surprised with every course. We enjoyed a phenomenal meal, even though we didn’t know what we were ordering. It was one of the best meals ever!

What is one of your favorite memories of traveling with friends and family?

One of my favorite memories of traveling would be the time I went with Inspiration and First Baptist Atlanta to Israel with my dad. It was the last trip I’d been able to take with just my dad. I sang in incredible places I’d heard about for years.

Around the time we went to Israel, I was seeing a counselor and dealing with some issues following my first husband’s passing. My counselor said to me, “Why don’t you find a way to leave those things in the hands of God in Israel?”

I decided on the plane ride to write down everything I was dealing with: all the past mistakes and people I had hurt.

After dinner beside the Sea of Galilee one night, I thought, “What a more perfect place to leave this than where Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water with Jesus.”

I went to the front desk and asked for matches to burn the pieces of paper I wrote on and let them float into the sea. However, when I tried to burn the papers, they would not light. I thought I had managed to find the only fire-resistant paper.

At this point, I was crying and sent my friend whom I just met on the trip to find a lighter. She probably thought I was crazy, much like you probably think I’m crazy right now as you’re reading this. The thing is, I was originally trying to burn the pages one or two at a time. When I stacked all the pages together and lit them on fire, they began to burn quickly.

I set them on a rock beside the sea and began to pray, “God, please take this from me. Heal my heart and heal my mind.” As I was praying, I looked down and realized the flames were going out. Desperate, I looked up and said, “God, I’m really trying here. I’ve been praying about this, and we’ve had such an incredible week. Will you please just let these papers catch on fire and take them into the sea? Let everything I’ve done—the guilt, the stress—go into the sea.”

A cool, gentle breeze came through and lifted the papers from the rock. They continued to burn, and I watched the ashes blow into the sea. God cared enough for me not to take my issues one by one but to take them all.

I will never forget that moment. It was the start of a new walk with the Lord and a fresh faith for me.

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Evening view of a resort pool flanked by palm trees near the Sea of Galilee, with the moon and mountains in the background.
Sunset at the Sea of Galilee

What places are still on your travel bucket list? Why?

I would love to visit Egypt to see the pyramids and taste the local cuisine. Japan is also on my travel bucket list. I want to see in person the rice fields and beautiful wisteria trees I’ve seen online and in magazines.

The thing I love most about traveling is the opportunity to see different landscapes and to experience the vast variety of cultures in the world. I find it fascinating to learn about the places we visit and to hear stories from the locals.

Has travel impacted your life in unexpected ways?

The people I have met on trips with Inspiration have surely impacted my life in many unexpected ways. What many of you may not know is that several of the people who go on these trips don’t just go on one, they go on, like, all of them. So, when you take these trips you meet up with friends, and it’s truly like a family reunion of sorts. I love getting caught up on their lives and what’s been happening with their families, jobs and all those things.

It’s been such a vital part of my life to be able to travel with my friends. Life is very busy for all of us. It’s a joy to walk onto a cruise ship or into a restaurant and see people I’ve known for going on 10 years, and I get to hug their necks and have wonderful experiences with them in these beautiful places.

Do you experience God uniquely in different places?

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TaRanda’s family is on a boat deck in front of a beautiful coastal landscape, posing with shaka hand gestures.
TaRanda and her family “hanging loose” in Hawaii

In a fast-paced place like New York City, there always seems to be a little bit of checking over your shoulder and asking God for the things you need right now. But in places like Hawaii, there is an ability to breathe and disconnect from the world. This creates space for an experience with the Lord, different from how you would experience Him in New York (or wherever you are from).

As I watched the windmills in Mykonos, Greece, God met me as I sat on the sea wall and listened to the wind. In Alaska, I watched these massive waterfalls come out of the rock, and it served as a reminder: we will never go thirsty because Jesus provides spiritual water so that we may never thirst again.

I love to take my kids to these places and watch them have experiences with the Lord. They always surprise me with little nuggets of inspiration from being in a place where they can see God’s hand.

Is there any fan story or interaction that has stuck with you through the years?

When we attend church, wherever we go to church locally, we assume there will be people in the audience who don’t know Jesus. But when you take a Christian travel trip—where someone has paid specifically to have a faith-focused travel experience—you assume they know Jesus.

One of the greatest things I get to be a part of on these trips is meeting those who don’t know Jesus and who come to know the Lord during their travels. The more trips we take, the more we see how some people are going to church and doing all the right things, but they don’t really know Jesus Christ. Or they were brought along by their friends, parents, grandparents, etc.

They get in the room, see the believers, experience the Holy Spirit and come to know the Lord—either as a first-timer or someone who’s getting to know Him better. It’s a joy to have those experiences with the people who come to hear us sing. It’s amazing to see the new light in their eyes and a new joy on their face following what I like to call a sneak attack from the Holy Spirit. Watching the lights turn on inside has been my favorite fan experience.

Where are your favorite places to be when writing or composing?

My favorite way to write is to be in a quiet room with a cup of coffee. Opening my Bible, I sit still for a second to see if the Lord has anything to say to me. I have these melodies and hooks come to mind from time to time and I keep them in my voice memos on my phone.

One day I’ll just get this line—and I don’t consider myself to be a great songwriter or anything—but I’ll call my friends and say, “This is what I’m hearing. What do you think? Can we make this something?”

I love being quiet and asking God to give me something to help somebody. If there’s a great view, it doesn’t hurt the process either.

Are there any upcoming trips you are excited about?

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Family group photo with TaRanda wearing casual and warm clothes, seated at a harbor with a cruise ship in the background.
TaRanda and her family in Alaska with Inspiration

Several years ago, before 2020, Cana’s Voice was invited to go on two back-to-back cruises to Alaska, one with Dr. David Jeremiah and one with Dr. Charles Stanley. Inspiration really did the most for us on those trips. Our children and spouses all came with us for the second cruise, and we shared the most incredible time.

Jody McBrayer’s daughter, Sarah-Clayton, caught a salmon barehanded at the salmon bake (which you will get in trouble for!), and we celebrated my daughter’s birthday on this trip.

I can’t wait for the new memories we’ll make on the Gospel Music Celebration Cruise in 2025. I’m also really looking forward to being cold and wearing a jacket in the middle of summer (let’s escape the heat together!).

You need to go ahead and book that cruise right now because we’re going to have a great time!

In Touch Ministries & IMC Gospel Music Celebration Alaska Cruise

Enjoy a week filled with gospel music, surrounded by the beauty of Alaska.