rule no. 1 on the trip, say yes to all suggestions and invitations (within reason).
my only atlanta affiliation was the airport. and I wasn’t too fond of it as I recall spending the night in the terminal waiting for a flight the night the (2nd) gulf war started. all the tv’s were blaring in anticipation of some great explosion as the United States declared war. all I cared about was getting to Phoenix for spring break and sleep.
for those of you who also have never ventured beyond the atlanta airport, the city is green. and winds up, down and around. it was beautiful to my shock and amazement. i was visiting my friend nedra who started this. i meandered her neighborhood, transitioning– she called it. which means: a predominately black, undesirable neighborhood, located in an area that is close to booming new amenities and quaint shops becomes a desirable place to live. it is a good thing for a neighborhood to be boosted, beautified, invested in. tension is built when an area all of a sudden becomes predominately white. the transition begs the question, where did the other residents go? it’s a fine balance- restoring and retaining.
I got a private tour of atlanta on our bikes. I recommend this in all new cities. you see things a bit better. especially the contrast between reinvested neighborhoods and well, the not so pretty areas. and who lives where.
I understand that this whole trip is a privilege I have. to up and drive around the country for 3 weeks, with no huge agenda, except to visit and explore and experience. I have no huge concern for my safety. and know that it is a frivolous expense at this time when I have a pending future, but I can afford it. This is privilege that not everybody has or can afford (time-wise or financially or socially). I am taking advantage of a situation, so I want to be a good steward for my time on this trip. because the world is still going moving; it’s not all about me and what I am to do next.
While I am driving, the city of Baltimore is falling apart. I’ve seen Martin Luther King’s church, the church in Birmingham where 4 girls died in an explosion. The history of Civil Rights is being preserved in the South, but it is something we need to be reminded, we are still living. It is not over. We still have the responsibility that our choices affect another, small scale to big picture.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade this trip for a job right now. I’m loving unemployment. In Atlanta, I found myself at a color-crush pop-up art show by the artist, not musician, Nick Cave. And then eating burgers at a bar where we talked till 2 am with a brother and sister, originally from Mauritius, in town for a festival. It’s the stuff road trip dreams are made.
Atlanta was lovely, and I’d take any chance to return.