My eyelids fluttered open when Joey’s alarm went off at 7:30 a.m. It was day 24 of our road trip and we were at Joey’s mom’s house in Williamsport, PA. Still in PA at almost the first quarter mark, would you believe it? Joey’s mom, Mary, was in a golf tournament this morning so we had said our good-byes the night before but Joey and I got up early, early, to wish her luck and say farewell again. And of course, Tom said his goodbyes to Bernadette. We’ll see you in Chicago Bern!
We took our time leaving but when we did get on the road the first stop was Selinsgrove, PA, our old stomping grounds. We were headed to Susquehanna University to talk to one of our favorite philosophy professors, Dr. Coleen Zoller.
Though we were each on separate paths in college, we all managed to find Dr. Zoller and take one or more of her classes. Tom, our resident philosophy minor, had arranged to talk to the good doctor about the philosophy of travel. Joey shot video and I played the stealthy photographer snapping photos while Tom sat with the good doctor discussing this interesting topic.
A point that resonated with me particularly was when Dr. Zoller started talking about travel and how it expands your sense of yourself. She specifically mentioned her own experience studying abroad in Greece and how it forced her out of her comfort zone. She spoke mainly in terms of trying new foods which she had previously convinced herself she hated, for instance onions. In talking about travel and the expansion of personal knowledge both in terms of who you are as a person and what the culture is like that you have immersed yourself in, I thought back to an email my dad had written me before we left on the trip marking this same important duality of travel and asking me to ask myself who I am as a result of our trip as well as outside of our trip.So far, one quarter through this trip, we have learned several useful lessons about travel in general, like make sure the GPS is going to the right state, don’t leave your important stuff on top of the car and never, under any circumstance whatsoever, drive in New York City.
This trip is fairly young however, and though we may have noticed some things in ourselves we had not seen there before, I find myself hard pressed to say specifically that I have changed in some monumental way. Given its fair time this trip will prove to be one of the most important experiences any of us has in life but there are several points to a trip, and the beginning is saved for experiencing.
Dr. Zoller spoke to experiencing as well as changing in some immeasurable way when she talked about experiencing new foods, new languages, new countries and hemispheres, when she talked about getting out there and seeing and bringing back what you have found. And we do plan to do all this, America. Lucky you.
Check out the full interview below (in two parts), the good doctor is definitely worth ten minutes of your daily YouTube allotment.
After this interesting talk we drove away contemplating travel and headed toward our good friend Andy’s house in Harrisburg. We arrived in Harrisburg before Andy was done with work so we went to a little restaurant and nabbed ourselves a roof spot and a bowl of potato soup. Andy met us and took us over to one of his favorite riverside restaurants called Dukes.
We thoroughly stuffed ourselves with a meatloaf sandwich for Tom, a Mexi-salad for me, and fish and chips for Joey (except instead of chips Joey opted for veggies, Mary you must be so proud) but we were determined to get out of PA, finding it a little ridiculous that we were almost one whole quarter through with our trip and still in our home state. Thanks to Andy for the free meal!
Sometimes it’s just that hard to leave home I guess. We took off and landed a few hours later in a small motel just outside of Shenandoah National Park, where we would begin our longest journey so far the next morning.
Until next time America.