I look forward to the day when tears are not streaming down my face as I type up emails to a hodgepodge of volunteer organizations, Franciscan Retreats, Zen Residential Programs, and EcoVillages. I should be excited with all of these possibilities in places I have never been to scattered about the United States.
I want to be happy but I am not. I do have tiny bursts of hope and I find something akin to a glimpse of joy perks up inside of me when I encounter a friendly gesture or something beautiful in nature.
Yesterday, walking several miles to my motel destination in a gritty part of town, I felt my determination rise inside of me. My spirit pushing this physical body into forward motion. When I arrived at the motel, I was hot, tired, sore, and felt a sense of accomplishment. For seasoned travelers, this probably sounds pretty whiny and inconsequential. For me, it was climbing Mt. Everest, leaving the comfort of my hometown, family and friends to hit the road having no clue what my destination will be, carrying a heavy heart and overburdened backpack, leaving behind a familiar territory and routine.
In my room, the cups and dreaded keurig coffee and creamer were missing. I called the front desk to ask for replacements. Within minutes, the hotel keeper, a woman of Indian ethnicity slightly younger than me with beautiful brown eyes and elegance brought over coffee capsules and two cold bottles of water. I could see concern in her face as she handed me the blessed water, I wasn\’t expecting. I planned on using the cups to drink the treated, horribly tasting city water out of the bathroom tap.
After settling into my room, I waited until almost dark to cross the busy intersection across from the motel to see what the Mexican Restaurant offered. I was pleasantly surprised to find the dining room empty and available for indoor seating. The waitress turned over the side of the menu to show El Salvadorian selections. When she came back with chips and salsa, and golden yellow crema sauce I didn\’t recognize for the chips that was delicious, I ordered three pupusas, a griddle like corn cake filled with cheese.
\”Oh too much food, you only need two, that\’s enough\”, she responded taking my order.
And it was more than enough food. The pupusas were made to order stuffed with cheese and mushrooms with a cabbage salad on the side. My dinner cost $6.50, $10 with tip in one of the most expensive places to eat and live in California.
If I can continue along, eating well with that kind of budget, I will be able to last for awhile before landing.