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Neda Dispatch

Meet Neda

Neda Archive



Trekker Treasures-Lessons to last a Lifetime!


"But what do you do exactly?"
Ah, a question for the ages. I can't even tell you how many times I've been asked that over the course of the year. And I can't even tell you how wonderful it feels to be able to answer, "Oh, I'm a Trekker of course!"

It happened again sitting with Stephen, Becky and Stephanie in Wyoming on the second to last day of the Trek. We were in the Tetons National Park and had just finished a lovely hike tromping through knee-deep snow to go sunbathe on a rock out by Taggart Lake. Lunch had turned into a parking lot picnic of PBJ sandwiches and a fondue party with a container of chocolate frosting and any tidbits of food we could scavenge from our cars. We started talking with a man and a woman who had just returned from a bike ride and were curious as to what we were doing. Stephen gave the story. "Well, we're part of a group of 8 educators traveling around the United States for a year documenting United States History for K-12 students on a website."

As he talks, I smile. Because I have a secret. "Oh, if only you knew what really went on, if only you knew the half of it," I think as I chuckle to myself.

A year ago, sitting in my room reading the job description, I too was among the unknowing. Don't get me wrong; the job description itself is pretty incredible. In fact, after I read it the first time, I had to look at it again and again, just to make sure it was real (a common experience, I think). Had someone read my mind and created a job based on all my passions? I knew that I was in for something good.

But how was I to know that I would have the most amazing year of my life?

That I would drive over 45,000 miles on a journey through time, space and emotion.

That "Trekker" would mean journalist, photographer, driver, explorer, activist, researcher, teacher, student, and about 769 other jobs.

That even if I didn't shower regularly, I would be bathed in constant positive energy.

That I would see so many different ways to make a difference.

That I would learn so much about all sorts of interesting topics, from voting rights to prisoner rights, from contra dancing to communes.

Chillin' with Elvis at the Heartbreak Hotel
That I would spend Halloween going trick-or-treating with Irene and my newfound friends in St. Louis. That I would watch election results from my brother's hotel room in New Orleans and part of the Super Bowl in a diner in Pittsburgh with Daphne. Spend a lovely Easter brunch with Stephen in Boulder, Colorado. And spend my birthday enjoying the company of Trekkers amidst the beauty of the Tetons in Wyoming.

A cell phone and a AAA card:  a girl's best friends!
That I would come to take in car troubles as a normal part of everyday life-- 5 flat tires, a break-in through our window in D.C. and sliding off an icy road into a snow bank in Colorado…all in one month? Hey, no problem!

Neda forages for food
That some of the best meals I would eat would include a Mac 'n cheese dinner on the side of the road in Needles, California, a picnic lunch under a tree in Tupelo, Mississippi or a bowl of cereal on the side of a cliff in Mesa Verde, Colorado.

That my existence would be so dependent on the kindness of others…and that I would not be disappointed

That after traveling in several different continents in the past couple years, I would discover how exotic my home country really is.

Yeah, it's kinda beautiful eh?
That I would soak in such a diversity of landscape, from the red rocks in Arizona to the Louisiana Bayou to the badlands in South Dakota.

That I would meet so many amazing people doing so many amazing things, and want to take part in all of them.

That my 5-star hotels would be campgrounds and couches all across the land.

That I would canoe with alligators, swim with manatees, eat breakfast with prairie dogs, watch a moose fall in a frozen lake (but get out again, don't worry), and frolic with herds of deer, elk, and buffalo.

That I would sing, laugh and dance my way across the United States (coming next: US Trek-- the musical!)

How was I ever to know?

I feel so blessed to have had all these experiences and to have been able to share them with you. I really would like to get some magic pixie dust and sprinkle these feelings of hope and happiness all over each of you.

But now that you know my secrets, you don't need any magic dust. You can just become a Trekker yourself.

Although the U.S. Trek is ending, the trekking is not. If being a trekker means always striving to learn and discover, to meet amazing and interesting people and to share with others, to find ways to make a difference, then by golly, I am going to be doing it all my life!

Back on the California coast
So, hurry up, jump on the bandwagon. It's all the rage, I swear. You can make a difference. You can touch people's lives, and you most certainly do already. You can live so that every minute is full of energy and life. There is no day like today -so start trekkin'! And when people ask what you are doing, you can just smile. You too will have experienced the wonders.

Peace out,


Please email me at: neda@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Rebecca - Learning about life by living it - with gusto!
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
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