Six years ago today I flew to Chicago from Cedar Rapids. I was such a new international traveler that I had never been to the international terminal in O’Hare. My first worry was could I find it. I did find it–and was on my way. I have been thinking this spring that it would be fun to get out my journal and re-visit that trip. So over the next three weeks, I’ll occasionally share photos and journal excerpts from that challenging and wonderful time.
Day 1 – May 18
What I am feeling today is the absence of those I have left behind. I have to remind myself of why I wanted to do this trip. I thought I owed it to the story to come to the place and see the chiru. … Now I’m on this trip I want to squeeze as much out of it as I can.
I remember being both excited and apprehensive, glad that I had the opportunity for this trip–and feeling the pull of home. I had brought talismans to help me: photos of Rich, Sarah, Justin, Owen, Evelyn, a scrap of my grandmother’s dress, a photo of Maine–standing for all those I loved there, loaf of bread to snack on from my baking friends. And of course, I brought my journal, my new camera (given to me by Rich, Sarah, Reed, and Justin), many pens and notebooks to give away, a few pens for myself, and my guidebook, and Parting the Waters, volume I of Taylor Branch’s biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.–a non-fiction connection to home.
A writing exercise for those who might be looking for one: what would your character take on a trip? (1) to remember home? to be useful? to stay strong?