Hitting the road...with a purpose
Yes - I need a break - a long overdue break.
The last time I had one was spent surviving the aftermath of a rather nasty storm, one that knocked out electricity for just about the entire length of my stay, and in 90 plus
degree humid weather. Needless to say, it was anything but relaxing - I mentioned that a few times before in posts and do so because it was and still is, a traumatic memory!
The best part of this break is not only do I get to see my sons but I am traveling again and the weather looks good. I don't know about others but I come alive when I travel. New sights - varying cultures - new experiences. I thrive off of those things. Life goes from humdrum back to being an adventure I can enjoy. I guess I am a bit of a wanderer at heart.
Traveling by plane is also nice but doesn't offer the same chance of interaction with others that a train does. Yes, I am one of those people who likes to spark up a conversation with strangers, much to the horror of children when they were younger. Just ask them what it is like to be in a quiet but filled elevator with me, lol. I can still see them rolling their eyes.
The last time I took the train it was from the Wisconsin Dells to Washington D.C. The train was packed with activists and advocates from Chicago heading to the very same conference I was going to. People from all walks of life. From grassroots organizers to the people standing up for a better way of life and the rights of others. The people I met were incredible - their stories, most tragic but also mind-blowing examples of survival.
I will never forget her thanking me for being a special education advocate. It brought tears to my eyes as I didn't feel worthy after hearing her story and knowing why she was heading where she was, the same conference as I - that is when she told me about someone once helping her with one of those grandchildren who was special needs and who needed an IEP. She said that without that help it would have been just one more thing for her to handle and she was getting tired, but not yet willing to give up.
So, that brings me to my little jaunt coming up on this train ride. This time I am going alone - no other like-minded people that I know of - no conference. Just a mom on the way to see her sons and to watch my youngest chase a dream as he performs at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. (yes, I had to get that in! :) )
His story and our family story on how life has led to this point is interesting, I know that, but I also know that on that train filled with strangers there are going to be more stories of survival - stories of hope, of loss, and more importantly, of common bonds. I plan to dig those stories out for a writing project here on my blog.
Why not use that gift of gab for a reason, eh? It is something I feel we need more of in this world of division and so much intolerance. It is at the point I just cannot stand it anymore and feel a need to at least try something in my own little part of this world.
So - readers - I asked this question on my personal Facebook page the other night -
If you could ask a stranger on a train any question other than where they are going and why, what would it be? Let me know! Comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org