I’m hitchhiking to Ontario. There are reasons. Because…
- I can. This is a base example of white male privilege. I’m a big cis white male. That means I can make decisions like hitchhike alone across Canada. Even if they wanted to, well over half the people I know can’t make that decision so readily because of gender, color, and sexual orientation. Size might work against me (combined with a big beard and long hair) in that some people might think I look a little scary (I’m anything but). But it also keeps me somewhat safe.
- I want to. This reflects my values I guess. I love being in a family. I have done my best to attend to all the bigs in the life of my family. I was eager to meet all my nieces and nephews as soon as I could after they were born and often had to cross the country to do so. Weddings, funerals, reunions I’ve done my best to attend. And I try to allow my daughters to benefit from being present at as many events in our family life as well. This time it’s my niece’s wedding. I committed to attending a number of months ago and my daughters are already there waiting for me to arrive.
- I need to. My plans frequently go sideways. It’s sort of this tragicomic reality. I had an economic change that meant I likely shouldn’t travel too far this summer, but refer to points 1 and 2 above. I had a physical change, which was a recurring heart issue induced by working a second job related to my economic change. Then I had an opportunity change, simply meaning an opportunity to drive didn’t work out. Point 2 again comes into play which means I’ve decided to hitch and rideshare while travelling alone so that I can have a more orthodox return trip with my daughters. Woot!
- I benefit from the kindness of friends and strangers. These circumstances are like my crazy request for alms. There is something beautiful about being the recipient of kindnesses and generosities. It is also an exercise in humility and a means of expressing gratitude for the people I’m blessed to have in my life, whether for a moment or a longer time. About that humility thing. I resisted telling this story because a large part of me expects these types of adventures to be a thing of the past. And there is the temptation toward resenting these circumstances. However, in saying goodbye to the many people who I care for in the Downtown Eastside and Insite I’m reminded that of my privilege to have had many opportunities to travel, and also to travel without the need of the kindness of strangers.
Thank you, truly, for all the generosities so many provide me on a regular basis