Today I drove through the rain, six hours to Buffalo, NY. I’m on my way to hang out with two of your favorite people in the world, Samantha and Marydeth.
On my way out of Burlington, my friend Mary who is a creator and artist, suggested I take a few side streets to see some of her work before setting to my arduous drive.
As I near the end of my trip, I’ve been wondering about how I could possibly sum up all of the things I’ve learned over the course of the last one hundred and some odd days.
While I hope some day to take the time and look back at the thousands of words I’ve written while undertaking this journey, I can start, at least, with what seems most immediately to have changed for me.
I’ve fallen in love with the vastness that is our continent-size country. I have fallen in love with what seems like the insurmountable challenges that lay ahead of us as a nation. I’ve met people along the way that give me a lot of confidence in our ability to right our wrongs, and help those who have been damaged by history. I’ve fallen in love with all of the meaningless moments on my path. All of the things that weren’t worth a picture.
I get more and more excited every time I recollect a story that belongs to a photograph that I’ve taken, and find that the story that’s really worth telling is the one that happened long before, or long after. The time sitting in the park, or buying a bundle of firewood. The time driving through the downpour, or going into auto shops around the country getting oil change after oil change.
I won’t pretend that I thought there was any chance you could’ve been wrong, but when we had tea just before I left, you told me, “There’s no way everything you planned for works out. So just keep positive, and move on to the next thing.” It was almost as if you could predict my exact experience. Some of the most amazing things I saw, and experienced, were things that existed nowhere on my “van’s plans.”
What I got out of this trip was nothing physical, nothing tangible. I got a reference point through which I will most certainly be consuming the world as I proceed through it. I found a new city to move to. I found strangers, and family, and friends, and friends of friends around the entire country that helped me, and conversed with me. I found that talking one on one with someone for hours about everything under the sun is one of my favorite ways to pass the time. I found that I enjoy hanging out with myself. I have the ability to fight my own boredom. I sit at the edge of my imagination, and I’m sure that I have the tools to tap, at some point in the future, into it’s power.
I’ve also learned that even at the end of a day where seemingly nothing has happened, that I always have something to say. And while a lot of time my writing feels like word-vomit, it is extremely meditative for me to type as the thoughts race out of my finger tips. Though I don’t think I’ll ever be much of a writer, there is something to putting thoughts to paper. I find the same therapeutic effect from conversing about a thought, only writing doesn’t require a second party. Although I really do I like writing to someone, with the hope that they’ll know that I spent a lot of time thinking about them.
- I drove 367 miles today