Travel and activism. What the hell does travel have to do
with activism? Well, I wouldn't have been able to answer that question last October, when I shoved my simplest belongings into a backpack and left Madrid to travel across the
U.S.A. And now here we are.
To be honest, I was not at all an experienced traveller. When the thought of leaving crossed my mind, I had no idea about how to organize such a long trip with such little money, or if it was even possible. I also did not know if I would have to go back early, asking my parents for money and admitting that it had just been a foolish thing to do. And, thanks to the collective mindset, by the time I boarded the plane I had also added up the fear that something horrible, terrible, unimaginably painful would happen to me for being a woman travelling on my own. And if it did, of course it'd be my fault. Yay.
So it turned out that this trip was not only a life-changing, world-discovering experience, but also a constant
challenge. Because "you're a girl, are you crazy going out there on your own?". Because "you're only 22, you have no clue about what you're doing".
Because "you just graduated, shouldn't you be looking for a job?" Because "you're
leaving with such little money, no one can live on that". Even those who tried to support me sometimes let out contradictory messages: "I love the idea, you're so brave, leaving
right when it seemed that you were starting to get good work chances." That's great, thanks.
But hey, guess what?
I didn't get raped.
I didn't run out of money.
And I had the time of my life.
In fact, here is a list of 10 random things I did on my 3-month trip that I'll talk about in further posts:
- Jumped in a car with a complete stranger and drove with him through the Blue Ridge Mountains into an astonishing sunset
- Slept in a house with no heat, no hot water and holes in the walls in New Orleans
- Marched in protests against police brutality and racism in the Southern states and understood the reality of institutionalized racism in the United States
Interviewed ACLU state leaders,
an Occupy Wall Street activist and a Spanish woman who's been protesting in front of the White House since the 80's
- Spent Christmas with someone I had meet a week before
- Met Miles Davis' last personal assistant in Philadelphia
- Accidentally walked alone into a dangerous street in Jackson, Mississippi, and survived
- Took food from a supermarket trash container in Nashville and cooked it. It was delicious
- Attended a cocktail party in the most luxurious house I have ever seen
- Talked to strangers in airports along my way back home, asking them to take a picture with me holding a sign with the kilometres that separated me from Madrid. Filmed it all. Won a video contest.
My point is simple: we need to stop telling ourselves "this is impossible" without giving it a second thought. More often than we
think, we choose comfort by default, complaining about the circumstances around us and yet not doing anything to change them - because change means fear. And I'm not saying what I did wasn't
risky, I'm not saying change isn't risky - but its portrayal as a threat has the power to paralyze us, and that is the real threat. We end up convincing ourselves that there is no point in
trying to reinvent what life is supposed to be. Sound familiar? That's what activism and traveling have in
common. That's what Revolution on the Road is about. And that's what usually stops us from growing and living amazing experiences.
I kindly invite you to start giving damns about things worth giving damns about. To question everything, to travel more. And, if you want, we can do it together.
Welcome to Revolution on the Road.