As we have found many times on this journey, fateful experiences and encounters are our guiding force. We went to Marfa, TX without any connection or a place to stay. When we arrived, we drove to El Cosmico (a luxury bohemian campsite in the middle of the desert) in hopes of finding temporary shelter and meeting people in what seemed the only public event that evening. Standing in the parking lot, a moment of ambiguity, the “soooo, where are we sleeping tonight?” question and the slightly unfamiliar sensation of not having a single soul expecting us in this small West Texas town. And then there it was, yet another fortifying moment of the trust we have in our intuition and timing, as a familiar face stepped out of an old turquoise striped milk truck… “if we left yesterday this would never have happened!”
Kyle, the solo traveling letterpress goddess, of Moveable Type, just so happened to be in Marfa as well. We had no idea. We had started our journey around the same time Kyle did, and when we finally met with her in Minneapolis in September, we parted ways intending on staying in touch, but never being sure when or where we may see each other again.(visit the post we wrote about her back in September)
The dust settled and the three of us sat around a table and shared travel stories. As our paths crossed early, on both our voyages, we were able to reflect on our personal growth and leathered hides. There was an overwhelming sense of solidarity. As travelers. As artists. As women. We shared the questions that we consistently receive as women on the road. We questioned the fears that are instilled in women and observed how us three have broken down our own trepidations and boundaries for the sake of our art and for a more fulfilling existence. Certainly, there are complications that come with being a female traveler, we have to be safe, but we are also not willing to live in fear.
Our reflections were coupled with the emotions of reentering the desert, a territory we all have a particular draw to and affinity for. Over the past 9 months of traveling, each of us can agree that much of our endurance was made possible by embracing the empowerment that is had when you just let go of it all and trust in the femininity of intuition.
Run On Sentence (portland)
We parted ways again, now without a doubt of the possibility of rekindling our connection some day again in the future. With her travels and ours each coming to an end so very soon, Ah… the desert and its vastness, mystery, and unique beauty…a perfect place for a reunion. :)
One night we met a wonderful woman who definitely shared with us a layer of the christian south we weren’t aware of. She was studying to become a pastor at a school there that was focused on multi-faith. Though many of the students were of the christian faith, several came from various backgrounds such as Islam and Buddhist. Emily, our new friend, declared herself a feminist, she vowed to never refer to God as “He” and spoke freely of sex, love, pain and compassion. Trudging through the Bible Belt now for months with anti-women and pro-monotheistic billboards everywhere, this encounter was happily welcomed! Its forever one of our missions to peel away the layers of pre-judgement, whether our own or societal.
After meeting her, she invited us to see “the real Memphis,” so we joined her and her group’s weekly visits to the homeless community, delivering burritos and clothing while sharing our story. We then joined in bringing 15 of them back to the hospitality house and shared breakfast for dinner and engaged in beautiful, and somewhat painful, conversation with two artists from varying circumstances that led them to live on the streets. Though these folks seem to be providing a “service,” to this community in Memphis, they look at what they do to be more integrating and sharing with other members of society.
As artists ourselves who don’t identify as followers of any specific faith, this experience pushed us outside of our comfort into learning about a sect of the organized religion that does not identify with the Westernized christianity that is currently causing so much strife and oppression in the very modern mixed with the very real politics in the society we are living in.
These people preached love and openness and didn’t question our personal faiths, nor did they question our intentions. Honesty, open-mindedness, passion, and trust, so often qualities we forget to focus on when encountering new and different people.
Some things we have learned to apply on this journey are:
to be fluid yet still.
to be open.
to freely welcome unknown plans.
We have grown into ourselves and our individual purposes as activists and artists on this voyage. Sometimes we can’t fight the intuition or the divine plan and really, why should we ‘fight’ it? We declared ourselves transients 8 months ago. We dedicated ourselves to doing what we must for this project and for the spreading of the importance of art and the importance of revolution.
We chose to become our art.
However! Super-human we are not. (Shucks!)
Our trip to Atlanta was different. Of course there are the obvious reasons; a new place, a new part of the country, a place neither of us had ever been. But it was different for other reasons. We had come to acknowledge ourselves as the medium by which we create with, weathered yet stronger, we have evolved into greater versions of ourselves. This self-reflection took precedent while in Atlanta. So we met a handful of fine folks, strolled through the hills that home the spirits of Atlanta, and took a peek at Occupy Atlanta. But we indulged in the fluid stillness by spending most of our visit working on the skeleton of our novel..or perhaps the skeletons within our novel.
Feeling a bit insane. a bit out of our element. It took a few instinctive decisions. A needed adrenaline rush to unclog stagnancy and challenge insecurities, and a quest for a certain street, all of which we hold another force responsible for, to guide us back into our true selves. Or maybe to catch up with our new selves.
“No doubt you are wondering what you will find, out there.’ The Commandant said it for me. ‘Well, it would be useless for me to try and tell you. The desert tells a different story every time one ventures on it…” ― Robert Edison Fulton Jr., One Man Caravan
As we sat in Brooklyn and watched the Greensboro solidarity video after the NYC raid, we were all overwhelmed and grateful. The faces were foreign and the voices were new. Little did we know we’d have the pleasure of getting to know every single one of them! We knew Greensboro was going to be rewarding after the first GA where the crow, the wolf and lady liberty were warmly welcomed. Thank you Occupy Greensboro! You are an inspiration!
The Revolution Of Core Knowledge Program has been an incredible contribution to the public school system for twenty years by providing an alternative within the first two years of high school for those who attend Drake High. ROCK combines multiple subjects in a collaborative, project-based curriculum in which first year and second year students work together. The program promotes individuality and creativity, empowering its students by encouraging them to take charge of their own education and mentor each other as they are presented with challenging projects. The program uses varying artistic practices in almost every project to further develop creative thinking and stimulate on multiple levels while pushing students out of the comfort zone of a standard curriculum process.
The Friends of the Green River Positive Action Community Team, Inc. (PACT) actively works to provide much needed social services for every resident within the small rural community of Green River, Utah. Through senior outreach, youth recreation and prevention programs, promotion of healthy lifestyles, adult and family education programs, early childhood education, economic growth instigation, affordable housing assistance, volunteer coordination, and access to community resources, PACT strives to reach the potential in all of us.
Although we were hesitant about going to Austin during SXSW, our travel schedule lead us there anyway. Sadly, our assumption was correct, and it was difficult to really see or feel what Austin was about. Locals escape the chaos and everything becomes a part of the festival. Fortunately, we reunited with old friends from SF and those we had made on the road and at Occupy Wall St, and we befriended some fantastic locals and musicians from all around the world. And despite it all, we had a few moments in which we were able to capture some of the heart of Austin whether through conversation, or some hidden gems within and surrounding the city.
As we inch towards 3 months on the road, we look back at the last 90 days with amazement! We have covered so much ground and met such amazing people. The conversation we had set out to facilitate is happening. The voices we had hoped to discover have surfaced. The focus on positivity has been successful and we have that to thank to each person who has opened their minds and/or homes to us.
If one were to ask us how we would describe our accomplishments with the travel portion of our project thus far, we would confidently say it has been more than successful.
With such diversity existing from state to state, it’s important for the entirety of the project to attempt to see as much as we can. Sadly, what holds us back is our lack of funds to support our travel expenses and the health of our vehicle.
If anyone would like to support the completion of our project, every small donation adds up and will help us continue traveling from city to city as well as assist in more community outreach projects.
Through our indiegogo campaign, you can donate to us for the next 2 days!