“I love you and just hope you have a good rest of your trip. I’ll be watching you to make sure you make it safely to your mom’s house.” Don extended his hand, and I said, “How about a hug?”
“Oh, I love hugs,” he smiled broadly. We hugged awkwardly because of my big backpack and the computer strapped to my front. Any chance I get, I stock up on hugs. It’s a long and lonely walk sometimes. I love the solitude and beauty of the open road, but really appreciate all the love, generosity and simple human contact my hosts give me after walking for seven or nine hours, and the fortitude this provides for each day’s walk.
Last week, my phone rang and the name Odelia, Springer NM showed up. I answered it and said, “Hi Odelia!”
“Hi Laura. Oh I’m so glad I caught up with you. I just wanted to see where you are and how you’re doing.” I could hear the smile in her voice. We chatted for fifteen minutes or so and I updated her on my trip. She ended with, “Well, I’m so glad to get ahold of you. I just wanted to make sure your doing well. I think about you often. Goodbye. I love you and God bless.”
I have heard, “I love you” countless times on this trip and am surprised at how much love and friendship I feel from people who were strangers the day before. One night in their home, one meal at their table and they tell me that they love me and will worry about me and watch over me virtually as I complete my trip.
In “real life” this kind of quick connection would probably feel odd or phony. But on this trip, I feel like I am collecting extra dads, sisters, brothers, cousins and moms. So my journey is not lonely. I have never felt homesick. Instead of feeling homeless as I wander across the country by myself, I feel homeful. In a nut shell, my project is working perfectly… actually even better than expected.
My work is about intimacy and trust, and how community, online and in person, can create safety. I am loved and watched over by so many people. I feel safe. Not just now on the open road, but this feeling fills up my heart and I suspect will fill all my days. I want the rest of my “real life” to look like this trip.
May love fill all your days as well,