Finding America; Finding Dreams

by Karoli on October 26, 2009 · 202 comments

Have you ever harbored a fantasy of doing something brazenly impractical? The kind of thing where friends look over their wine glasses at you at dinner to make sure you haven’t completely lost your mind?

On the days where I let my mind wander to places I want to see and experiences I want to have, I always land on the idea of taking a road trip or train journey across the country and back again. I’m not sure why, but it’s always been one of those “before I die I must do this” kind of dreams.

chicago-jane

Photo: Jane Devin

While I sit around and dream, Jane Devin is living it, blogging it, recording it. I met Jane on Twitter last spring. Early in our Twitter exchanges we would facetiously toss invitations at each other to throw everything in the car and take to the road, escape the drudgery of the daily grind and experience things.

The thing about Jane: her imagination fires on all cylinders, she opened her self to possibility while having absolutely no clue as to what the ‘conventional’ methods might have been to undertake such a project. Her dream started with a success visualization exercise. Which of us hasn’t seen a contest and spent at least a minute imagining what we would do if we won all that money?

So after learning the secrets of prosperity and manifesting my own destiny, it was a foregone conclusion that Sally, the Kona blue Ford Mustang GT Premium, would be mine. I have visualized the overnight congratulations letter arriving on my doorstep this Monday or Tuesday, and am already considering my options.

[snip]

Sally is a done deal. All I have left to figure out is what I’m going to do once the keys and a check for $9400 is in my hands.

Keep in mind, this is all in her head…Sally and the check are nowhere near her living room at this point. She dreams of talking to others, of sycamore trees and iced coffees in small towns, of telling the stories of the people depicted in photo essays chronicling everyday life in everyday towns in everyday counties of this country we call “America”.

It occurs to me that over the years, I’ve traded in every one of my dreams for what amounted to a roof, four walls, and inconsistent comforts. I’ve ignored my urge to run, and instead capitulated to the voices that told me that my dreams were impractical, improbable, and of no use.

Or the ones that say you could never write well enough to undertake such a project, or you’d just be running from responsibility, or you’re too sheltered, shy and hesitant to risk stepping out and meeting strangers. The voices that say other people can do it better than you, the voices that hold you down and push you flat against a wall while chasing that particular dream away. The ones that remind you about being a responsible adult. Those voices.

Jane ignored those voices, and lives her dream while sharing it in real time. She left Minnesota on October 12th. She left her daughter, her apartment, her old beat up car, and everything comfortable behind her. She just left New Mexico, after meeting Viola, a mother, grandmother, caretaker of her own mother, and hotel proprietor. Viola is a special woman, and you can’t leave Jane’s post without understanding how precious her family – young and old — is to her. I loved the video…be sure to watch it.

I still have to listen to my voices and leave action for another day. After all, I have a not-quite-sixteen year old daughter, a husband, and a son who has just had his reality shaken up and yet still reaches for his own dream. But someday, I visualize BigDog and I waving goodbye for a year from the back of a train heading south and east, stopping in big cities and small towns, where we discover our own America, recording it in HD video, still shots and my own words, with or without a new Mustang and $9,400.00.

I’m confident Jane will leave breadcrumbs for us to follow.

Previous post:

Next post: