By Kenneth Justice
“It seems so romantic traveling to so many different cities and visiting people at coffee shops” she said
~ I was sitting at Union Station in Chicago last weekend waiting to board my departure train when all of a sudden I realized I was in the middle of a conversation with a couple I just met. They asked what I was doing in Chicago and after hearing about my Drinking in the Culture Tour the woman got fairly excited,
“That’s so cool! It must be so exciting to be doing this; what’s been your favorite part of the year so far?” she asked
I was prepared to give her my standard response when people ask me questions about the coffee house tour but all of a sudden it dawned on me that one of the best things about my trip so far has been the traveling portion.
Usually I hate traveling. Sitting in airports, train stations, bus terminals, or wherever tends to drive me nuts. I’m always in a rush and can’t stand the monotony of counting down the minutes until departure. However, this year’s journey has been very different than vacations I’ve taken in the past; I haven’t been in a hurry.
Perhaps it’s because the whole thrust of my year long journey is to connect with people; but for whatever reason I’ve really enjoyed hanging out at airports and train stations and I’ve met as many people during my travels as I have met at coffee shops.
Last week during my trip to Chicago and back via train; I met more than a dozen people during the journey itself. Drunk people, an atheist who prays, a Korean-American woman who was proud to call herself adopted, Jose, the hot dog dude, and a bunch of other people.
Strangers want to talk. Perhaps I never noticed in my travels during the past that people were so interested in connecting and sharing experiences because I was too busy getting from one place to the next. When you go on vacation so much of your time is spent focusing on what you’re going to be doing that perhaps we forget to simply live in the moment and experience what we are doing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love vacations, but the feel of my coffee house journey this year hasn’t really been a vacation. I’ve gone on a lot of vacations throughout my life and most of the time I remember trying to fit as many things to do in a short amount of time; amusement parks, sight-seeing, museums, rush, rush, rush. Sometimes I’m more exhausted at the end of my vacations then before I even set off.
Yet on this year’s 100 coffee house tour I haven’t felt very exhausted……at least not yet. Perhaps come July I’ll be regretting the commitment I’ve made, but at least for now it’s been interesting to meet so many different people from all walks of life.
I will be in Pittsburgh this coming Saturday at Commonplace coffee and look forward to my continued experience sipping one coffee at a time.
Categories: Culture & Society