As you may or may not know, this past Sunday I began my (epic) journey around and through the states of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan. I’ll be away from DC, my current home, for just under 5 weeks, with the current plan to sleep in about 25 different beds/couches during my trip to about the same number of schools. With the exception of MD and WV, I’ll be stopping by at least one college or university in each of those states, and I’ve already been to 5 in only 4 days (one of them being Sunday which I spent in DC and driving). It’s quite the adventure, I must say, and I don’t think I’ll be able to reflect on it fully, if at all, until it’s all over, but it’s been a lot of fun.
Being on college campuses and with young people is energizing for me. It’s taken some energy to pull out the extrovert side of me necessary to find people interested in LVC, but once I’ve gotten up the activation energy (a great science term) to start the conversation, I’ve had some great conversations. Today I asked a student what his interest in social justice issues are, and he simply said, “Peace.” How beautiful is that? Seeing students at a stage where they are energetic and willing to commit to create change is so exciting. Connecting with people — students, faculty, staff — at the colleges and universities I’ve visited so far has been quite amazing, as it has let me see in a new way that there are so many people out there with a passion to create — they may not do it with LVC, but they will be partners as advocates of social change work to dismantle the oppression and disparity in our country and world.
Today was an especially fun and great day as I visited the campus of Kentucky State University, an historically black college in Frankfort, KY (and somewhere that has definitely never heard of LVC). There were lots of students interested in making a difference — in fact, more people signed up to receive more information there than any of the other schools I’ve attended thus far. Also, there were some moments with no one to talk with where I just observed everyone around me, and it made me miss what I had last year @ Shalom. I’m not sure how to say/write this without it coming out sounding poorly, but I really feel in a comfortable place surrounded by African Americans, and it’s just exciting to be in a place of education and thoughts of the future. I definitely see myself returning so such an environment again one day.
The traveling has been good, too — I’ve listened to a lot of my CDs in the over 800 miles on the road thus far (I’ll probably go about 4000 before it’s over) and have been driving a little faster than usual, but still safely. I’ve realized how much easier it is to drive in the day time than the night time. I’ve been able to see some fun sights, like the cities of Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, and the state capitol of Kentucky today in Frankfort. It’s not driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, as one of my coworkers was doing this evening, but there is beauty to be found in the Midwest (even if some tell you otherwise). It’s given me a chance to do some thinking, too, about an assortment of topics, some which will likely show up here one day.
As I continue my journey, blog entries might be few and far between, but know I’m thinking about you and enjoying my time on the road (even if I’ve already spent more than $100 on gas).