As the world turns, so do blogs evolve. That ‘spin’ Sara Dolin (yes, my daughter) brought to my blog in September apparently set the wheels in motion for an idea she came up with: how about we do a mother/daughter blog? Rather than reinventing the wheel (i.e., start a new blog), we’ll be alternating posts here, with some regularity, and with the goal of keeping a thematic thread to them. So there you have it—a woman who will be singing Beatles’ songs all day on her 64th birthday (a few weeks from now) in a blog duet of sorts with her 27-year-old daughter, who brings a different kind of music to her mother’s life.
Who knows where this road will lead?
I first read On the Road when I was 17. Coincidentally, I was on the road at the time as well, having just taken a bus trip to Maine, followed by a ferry trip to Nantucket (okay so road and water trip). I was probably too young to grasp the full meaning and context of it (and have since re-read it several times), but one thing I took away was a desire to be on the road . . . see the world . . . see the country.
My wanderlust has taken me to the far reaches of the planet, from Middle Earth to the Middle East, and all the natural wonders that I’ve seen filled me with a desire to see what my great country has to offer me. I mean it’s totally crazy how different the terrain in New York is from California, and there’s so much in the middle! To say that I’ve been waiting for the right time to drive across the country since I was 17 is an understatement. Finally, almost exactly ten years later, I got my chance.
After five years of living in Los Angeles, one of my good friends decided to move back to New York. Being on a “work hiatus,” I decided it was now or never for me, and took the risk of the job phone calls I might miss to finally do something I have been wanting to do for so long.
We left on October 1st. The first two full days of our trip were planned around seeing the national parks of southern Utah, and a visit to the Grand Canyon, because I mean, hello, it’s a cross-country road trip, isn’t the Grand Canyon an essential stop? Well, the House Republicans dragged their feet until the late hours of September 30th. While we hoped they would come to an agreement to keep the government open (not just for selfish reasons; it’s really kind of pathetic how many people had to go without pay for almost three weeks because of childish antics), we ended up having to change around the first few days of our trip. Regardless, it was wonderful.
New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee—I put aside all the stereotypes I had of every place, and was met with the warmest of welcomes by everyone, from friends to strangers we met in state parks. I couldn’t believe how kind strangers could be, especially when I was a stranger in a strange land! I expected hostility because of where I was from, but everyone had a story to share. I ate a pound of BBQ meat in Texas, tacos through the Southwest, ended up with my head in a garbage can and subsequently a toilet on Bourbon Street (that’s the only way to do it, right?), all while being forced to listen to Katy Perry’s “Roar” on the radio at least five times a day because it was #1 on the Billboard charts at the time. I can say I was probably the youngest visitor to Graceland in the group that I walked around with, but met some very colorful people while doing so.
I may not have many ideals in common with Republicans in New Mexico (seriously, they had a billboard on a major state freeway that said “Worst President Ever”), but one thing I share in common with everyone in my country is pride — pride from where I come from. Every single person I met was so proud to show me their city or their state or their park or whatever they had to offer. They weren’t ashamed to share with me the history of the blood we Americans have on our hands from the Navajo at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and instead were proud to share the stories they learned so that we all can be aware of our past as a nation and learn from it and move forward. They were proud of their cut of brisket and chicken fried steak (ew).
“Together we stand, divided we fall,” sings Pink Floyd in a popular song from The Wall. Seeing an expanse of terrain and people over ten days really makes you question why we’re all so divided when we’re living in the land of opportunity with common goals and dreams. It makes you wonder if you just talk to the people who you think are different, will you realize that we’re really all just the same?