On The Road

I guess I almost forgot to mention that I wouldn’t be traveling alone.  A young lady that was a part of the fall internship at Koinonia, Emily Summerfield is traveling with me on this journey.  That whole thing started one day at lunch at Koinonia when I was talking about the road trip with people at the table and Emily said, “If I don’t find a job, can I come with you on your road trip?”  I was not expecting that at all and I found out later that a couple seconds before she said that, she wasn’t expecting to say that at all.  My response after probably giving a dumbfounded look was, “Uhhhhhhh, maybe.”  We didn’t really know each other very well at this point, so I wasn’t just going to be like, yeah, sure, come along, it’ll be sweet.  So, we started hanging out together a little bit more to get to know each other a little better so we could see if we really wanted and could travel together.  After a bunch of talking about it, I decided that I would be okay with her coming along with me on the trip and that was that.  We made it clear at the beginning that we were just friends, but we were open to a relationship possibly developing.

So, after leaving Koinonia, Emily and I spent a little over 3 weeks at our respective parent’s house’s.  At my parents house in Wheaton, IL, I spent a lot of time resting, hanging out with family and old friends, reading, and planning the road trip.  I’m not much of a detail guy when it comes to planning trips, so the planning basically consisted of researching communities online and finding ones that sounded sort of interesting and putting them all together on a google map.  I also love nature, so there were a lot of national parks that were added to the map as well.  The time back at my parent’s place was good overall, but it was kinda weird at times.  The first thing I did when I got back was go to a party that one of the neighbors were having.  Talk about culture shock.  I just got done with a year and 3 months living in rural SW Georgia at a Christian Intentional Community and here I was at a party in the midst of affluenza in a suburb of Chicago.  It was great to see a lot of old friends, but that was also a little weird, too.  In catching up with my old friends, most of them seemed to be doing about the same things they had been doing the last time I’d talked to them and my life had changed so much.  Some of them were interested in what I was doing and some didn’t seem all that interested, which was fine, just a little weird.  But, I guess I felt the same way about a lot of the stuff that they were doing, I was interested in what some of my old friends were doing, but not interested in others.  It is what it is and I tried to be encouraging to all of them, but its sort of hard to do that when I didn’t exactly agree with the way that some of them were leading their lives.  Everyone is free to choose whatever they want to do and I can’t change that even though I want to sometimes.  Anyway, I learned a lot during my time back at my parent’s house, but after 3 weeks, I was ready to get on with my journey.

I started out on January 19, 2010 with my car packed with all the stuff that I might need and drove to Jeffersonville, IN to pick up Emily.  We hung out in Jeffersonville for a couple of days and I met a lot of her family and some of her old friends, but after a couple of days, we were ready to get outta there.

The day that we started out from Emily’s parent’s place, we drove until it started to get dark and stopped at an RV park in Arkansas and set up our tents and had our first camping out experience of the trip.  We didn’t sleep very well because we could hear cars and trucks driving by, but it was pretty good aside from that.  In the morning, we woke up with the sun and continued on.  We drove for the whole day and ended up in Austin, TX where we stayed with a friend of Emily.  Emily lived in Austin for a while and she really liked it there, so we hung out for a couple of days.  We hung out with a lot of her friends there, went to a show, went swimming in a spring fed pool, went to the farmers market, went to a used music store where she used to work and got a bunch of cds for really cheap, ate a lot of breakfast tacos and did a bunch of other stuff that wasn’t all that noteworthy, so I’ll stop there.

From Austin, we went to a farm nearby to try out WWOOFing.  To WWOOF means to be a Willing Worker On Organic Farms.  Basically people work out an agreement where they have a place to stay and are fed by the farmer and they work on the farm while they are there, thus helping the farmer and learning about organic farming in the process.  Its a pretty sweet deal for both sides.  We stayed at that farm for a week and it was an alright experience for the most part.  The farm was a market garden run by a single mom and she didn’t have things super organized so she was a little overworked from everything she was doing, which meant she was tired a lot of the time so she was a bit irritable so most of the time it felt like we were walking on egg shells.  One wrong step and she could go off a little bit.  We learned some stuff while we were there, had a nice place to stay, had some fun with the mom and her kid, had some great food, and helped her out with the garden so overall, and learned that we needed to be more up front with our expectations and needed to focus our visits to future places based on our actual interest in the lifestyle.  We basically just went to that place to do some farm work, when the focus of the trip was on Intentional Christian Communities that were doing sustainable agriculture / permaculture / simple living or different pieces of that.

After that, it was back to Austin for a couple more days and then off to Big Bend National Park.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by erin herner on March 27, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Hey Dan, This sounds awesome. I’m excited to read about the things you’re doing and learning. My life has changed quite a bit since moving from Chicago to Kansas City, too. As I’ve been here the past 6 months, I have been realizing how much I want to live a kind of life, similar to what you’re doing, and there are quite a few people here at IHOP who feel the same. My roommates and I are going to start a big vegetable garden this year, and we’ve started composting and are going to get some rain barrels, too. And I’ve joined the KC community gardening organization. It’s also really cool that a lot of the people in our IHOP community live really close. There are many who live in my neighborhood. I’m really feeling it’s important to not be so reliant on modern conveniences like oil and electricity, and to know how to do things that our grandparents had to do, like canning, sewing, etc.


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