Keeping it simple in a complex and barbarous world

June 09 2016

…well, trying at least.

“When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us.” -bell hooks

As an animal cruelty caseworker I see some tough stuff and was happy to take a few days off to get “her” down to warmer weather before winter hit the Pacific Northwest. She gave me enough gruff getting out of town that I thought twice about the 1,100 mile journey ahead, but I kept going.

I purchased “her,” a 1978 Westfalia five years ago, the gender and name assigned circa 1978. Comfortable high speed is 55mph on flat highways which surprisingly is very civilized, but a good chunk of that drive is through mountain passes; needless to say I gratefully saw parts of the states previously blurred.

Long distance road trips are warmly familiar. As immigrants from England, my family was amazed by the size of the US and we drove from coast to coast, excited to see all that lay in-between. I have stickers, patches, rocks and other mementos carefully picked by my 7 year-old brain. These memories are romanticized a tad as I know I shaved my legs half way through New Mexico because my sister pulled my leg hair when we fought and my Mum pulled off the April fool's joke I'll never live down. Apparently backwards clothes day isn't a real thing here (yes, there are pictures).

Back to this trip though, I stopped frequently to top up, had a mechanical issue that took a few days to fix, and it took a lot longer to get anywhere. At times I felt anxious, but told myself there's no rush and to embrace all of it. As a lot of you know, there's magic in travel, and for me, that old bus is a much needed reminder to enjoy the little things and keep it simple. Each journey brings people together (nostalgia; story telling), provides a place to listen/talk, observe, feel and learn. It gifts both time for reflection and "to just be." Suddenly the world feels kind again.

I made it down to sunny pastures 6 days later with new friends and memories, content and planning the next leg for the summer. The unknown is exciting. Making new friends/reconnecting is fun. Compassion is limitless. If you fancy joining for part of the journey or grabbing a coffee, please email me, tell me about yourself and I'll let you know if I'm in your area!

Thank you to Jason Angress for introducing me to the Listserve via Facebook. I’ve been reading all of the interesting submissions for years.

In solidarity,
“Let love be love in us” –bell hooks.

Gemma Vaughan
[email protected]
Portland, OR

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