Reading rocks, but life is lovelier!
Some things you cannot learn from a book. I love to read, but learning how to make your way through life comes from living your life. We have to camp, hike and explore. To listen, talk, and love. To create. To dance dizzily into the night. The lessons you learn through experience are the ones you will always remember.
I knew that the US Trek was going to be just perfect for me. Going to the places where history happened, getting the chance to look through the old archives, and to interview people has taught me more than I ever dreamed I could learn. I visited an African Burial Ground in New York City and a civil war POW camp in Georgia. I interviewed a Korean War Veteran forever scarred by his experience, and a genuine Okie from the Dust Bowl. I even climbed into the oozing goo of the La Brea Tar Pits, and bowed my head in respect where four students were killed at Kent State University.
The friendships that we trekkers have developed have changed our lives. It makes sense after all. Take 10 diverse, amazing people from all over the place and pair them up for a month at a time. Have them research and write together, drive and eat together, laugh, cry, and love together. Then start over the next month with a new person. Of course we would grow from the experience!
We all know each other pretty well by now. I know that Neda loves fresh veggie sandwiches and ice cream. Teddy is in heaven with bowls of Vietnamese pho and bags of beef jerky. Kevin craves steamed vegetables and lots of healthy water to drink. Daphne loves juicy apples, and corn! Irene digs those salt 'n' vinegar potato chips and Stephen is a sucker for chocolate covered raisins. Jennifer loves her coffee every day, and Stephanie is very happy when she has black breads and cheeses (just don't give her soggy cereal).
Then there are the really incredible things about the Trek and the trekkers: Neda's sweet joy and quiet confidence; the way Teddy confronts everything with laid-back style; Kevin's intense drive for justice and Daphne's magic ability to get anything done; the beauty in Irene's constant quest to learn more; Stephen's hilarious humor, loyalty and gentle care for others; the way Jen is so open with her feelings, so perceptive and understanding; Stephanie's utter obsession with life; and Nick's wisdom, the purity in his words.
I want to take it all with me. Even though this journey is over, the magic of The Odyssey never ends.
The US Trek is over...The Odyssey never ends.
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Links to Other Dispatches
Daphne - The Odyssey Trek: A cult of the BEST kind!
Irene - Baby, I was born to run (all over this country)
Jennifer - To America the beautiful and the friendly
Neda - So what exactly is a "trekker" anyway?
Nick - Taking the road less traveled
Stephanie - Make the Trek part of who you are
Stephen - Have a little faith and it will get you through