In one week Marci and I will board a plane for a twenty-four hour flight back to the US. We haven’t been home in a year. As a matter of fact, we celebrated our one year on the road anniversary two weeks ago. We haven’t really yearned to return to the States. We of course look forward to seeing our family and friends but we dread the “noise” of the United States. Those conversations about who is winning as if speaking about a horse race instead of a yet still undecided national election. Or the seemingly daily shootings at schools or during unnecessary police encounters. And the ever-present advertising of fast food, fast cars, fast acting nasal spray. Everything wants to be fast in America. But Marci and I have embraced slow. We eat slow. Our food is prepared after we order it. We move slow. Most days we never use a car. We travel slow.
But we do have a plan. The fact is the US is much more than all those dreads, that have recently caused both of us to moan and doubt our ability to cope as individuals and as a happily married unit. For us, the United States is a place of unbelievable beauty. We have traveled to the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Parks. And as we find every time we travel anywhere on earth, the US is place of astonishing kindness. Like the apparently homeless woman we met a a rest stop who shared her homemade jam inspiring us to share our morning coffee. We three had a breakfast picnic before Marci and I drove onward to eventually meet some friends in New Orleans for Essence Fest.
There is without a doubt a system of racist policies and racist actions in our country, the results of which slash our hearts. But we decided we were not going to allow those things to keep us from enjoying the beauty. So we are buying an RV and touring the country for a year or so, visiting National Parks, museums and chatting with women of a certain age about their relationship to our country.
This trip home is not the end of our international travels. North America is just another continent and once we are ready we will move on. But while we are home we will explore America from a black, queer and elder perspective. These things inform our choices and inspire us. We know we want to attend several women festivals throughout the year beginning with one of our favorites the NIA Gathering. We also want to visit Underground Railroad sites. We’ve left lots of free time in our schedule so that we can take suggestions and move slowly and boundlessly.
We invite your suggestions and hope you will continue to follow our travels as we return home.
If you had a year to travel North America where would you go? What would be your first three stops. Please share in the comments.