It has been a whirlwind, and that has nothing to do with the fact that I am currently knee-deep in what’s known as the Tornado Alley section of the United States while traveling Round America with a Duck.

My late Greyhound bus yesterday, as I was high-tailing it out of Joplin, Missouri (where I covered a story, via bike, about the deadliest tornado in the USA there, as well as Route 66) meant I missed my connection to Kansas. And so here I am in Oklahoma.

The nuns are back in the picture (Hallelujah! See my prior post about them) after I had to do a sudden heartbreaking pivot at a different planned WWOOF workstay due to circumstances beyond my control. I am currently focused on gratitude, as I continue to chant my “trust the journey” mantra.

I’ve slept in six different places in the 19 days since I left the Tin Can (that’s what the trailer was named) in rural North Carolina. I’ve hauled my motley pile of stuff so many times that the bottom of my bike bag, which drags, has required the use of my full roll of duct tape (duck tape!) — which I’ve ripped with my teeth — to cover the holes.

I’m way off budget due to a couple of unexpected hotel costs, but I did get to have a rejuvenating self-care swim yesterday (while it poured outside, thankfully without a tornado). I should be settling in for a solid month at the nuns’ farm starting tonight. Just in time for the annual alpaca shearing tomorrow!

I have much to share with you about the journey so far:

  • Tips for questions to ask (which I didn’t think were necessary but now know, in fact, are) if you are considering WWOOFing;
  • Tips about Greyhound, and whether or not I recommend it;
  • Tips about trying to maintain a healthy diet while traveling on a budget as well as getting daily physical activity (with and without a bike);
  • Suggestions for resiliency skills that I think are useful in this changing world even more so than I originally considered;
  • And reviews about items I’ve brought with me (already carefully road-tested prior to leaving home) that are working (many beautifully) and that aren’t.

In the meantime, I want you to know this. From what I’ve seen and experienced so far, America is, indeed, in crisis. The greater number of people are kind, but the level of disaster happening from climate to physical and mental health is monumental. We’ve also created a lotta ugly out there, and beauty in both our built and natural environments matters. Beauty is not a luxury and should not only be available for those who can afford to access it.

Yes, there is still hope for a better tomorrow. But it’s gonna be a whirlwind to get there.

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