Good coffee and traveling…REALLY???

Bull Run Coffee - One of the awesome stops I made this weekend

Bull Run Coffee – One of the awesome stops I made this weekend

By Kenneth Justice


Less than a couple hours ago I returned from Minneapolis, Minnesota and the latest leg of my Drinking in the Culture Tour; my excuse to get away from the daily grind and experience coffee house culture in different cities throughout the Western World.

This past weekend was pretty awesome. Not only did I get to meet with a number of fellow bloggers, I met so many different people and had more conversations than I ever could have imagined. From a South Dakota Yoga instructor to a homosexual professor who teaches at one of the local universities on conflict studies among youth.

All weekend long as I sat and listened to people, titles kept popping into my head,

—) She’s the man, he’s the woman…REALLY???

—) Trapped in a marriage but I think I’m gay….REALLY???

—) I wanna rape you…REALLY???

—) I don’t need god, I just need my humanity…REALLY???

—) The best thing about Minneapolis is Saint Paul…REALLY???

To say that I met a lot of good people and had a ton of good conversations would be an understatement. Unfortunately, because of the early hour that I’m writing this I still have a ways to go on putting together all of my notes.

I have a habit of jotting down notes on my arms and hands with a black ink pen while I’m talking with people and as I look at my arms as I type this morning, it looks like I’m one of those heavily tattooed people and all I’m missing is a Mike Tyson face tat.

I wanna take a moment to send out a special thank you to fellow blogger Jay who graciously drove me around all weekend and put up with my sorry ass. He gave me an intimate look into the real Minneapolis that I never would have experienced had I been nothing more than another tourist wandering around.

This year the most pleasant surprise has been the people who’ve put me up at their houses and given me tours of their cities. I’ve been able to go to places that were off-the-beaten path and all the while have been amazed at the connections I’ve made via blogging. I never would of imagined that writing down my ramblings and then posting them on the Internet would lead to me meeting so many good people all around the country.

A thousand years ago it was normal fare to take in a stranger and give them a warm meal and a place to stay. Traveling bards and minstrels might perform for their hosts, and writers and travelers would share stories and news from far-away lands.

Because of modern media and the Internet we have NEWS delivered to us 24/7 and who among us would really want to take in a lonely traveler from a far-away land? I wonder if the average person would put me up at their house in the same manner that so many of my fellow bloggers have extended such warm welcomes to me. I honestly don’t know.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the media has portrayed the world to be a scary place. Hitchhiking, talking to strangers, letting a lonely traveler stay at your house all tend to stir our minds with images we remember from late night horror movies. Let someone stay in your guest room or on the sofa and you’re liable to think they will end up being Freddy Kruger with five feet long arms trying to slice your throat while you sleep.

Yet what I’m learning is that the world is nowhere near as scary as the evening news portrays. For every murder or stabbing, there are millions of people who have good hearts that want to reach out to their fellow human. The bad news is really not representative of what we as a people really are; sure there are a lot of bad apples out there, but there are a lot of good apples as well.

But for now I’m thankful for the people I’ve met and for all the great conversations and time I had over the weekend. And to that young woman who kept telling me she wanted to rape me, I’m sorry I let you down but that’s just not my thing.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning


Categories: Culture & Society

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86 replies

  1. Glad you enjoyed your time in my neck of the woods. The best thing about Minneapolis is Saint Paul…REALLY??? <– Yes 🙂

  2. Always enjoy your rantings, and YES you can have a warm meal at my house anytime.

  3. Excellent article, expert picture. Is that lesn control or computer control. I am facebooking this because I always had a suspicion that that’s how the real world was;scared into candid sociability by sensationalized news stories.

  4. I really don’t know how you remember all those conversations (without a tape recorder or something). So it’s your arms and hands that do the recording…………….

    But seriously, I think most people genuinely have a good heart – most of them just don’t know it though. They’re never given the opportunity to ‘dig deep’ and reveal that sense of goodness. Life for most is so superficial, full of cheap thrills and skimming of their surface senses.

    Its about time, we all gave ourselves the opportunity to act Mindfully and with a Sincere Intent. Its about time the general population slowed down, listened to each other and then………………made judgement based on a solid understanding of what the other people is really saying (not run in the other direction with fear of what we ‘think’ they said).

    • Vicki, I’m like Truman Capote, I actually have an incredible memory when talking to people and I write things down on napkins and my arm throughout the day, and at night I write down key words in my journal to keep track of everything 🙂

  5. On the other side of it you are a very trusting person too!

  6. What a Loon, you take notes on your hands and arms. Actually I am not so surprised. Though we think that “real” writers would be so methodical about taking notes, the creative types always tell you strange stories. Have you seen the boxes of JKRowlings years of “notes” she used in her novels?
    I always make comments that no one else is brave enough to make. I met a 44 year old author in Nov. He was all caught up in the women that threw themselves at him sexually at all his book signings. He is working on a screen play for the 4 months he spent in jail accused by a groupie of raping her. It is a friggen miracle he was finally acquitted. Has he learned his lesson? A man with a God a good wife can resist all others fail.

    • lol yea I’m not sure if writing on myself is a bad habit or what….. but one problem is that if I don’t remember to transcribe it at the end of the night, when I take a shower everything starts to fade loll!

  7. So nice to hear other peoples thoughts and ramblings. Love reading over this side of the pond. Thanks

  8. Yay! Finally, the goodness is getting through.

    I remember my dad saying that when he was youngster it took three months to find out that war had broken out in another continent. Now we not only know with seconds, we see and hear the pain in our living rooms and – too often – take that as the norm outside our own front door (even tho we know we are kidding ourselves … “better safe than sorry!” really)

    24/7 news may be many things – but a balanced view of society it is not. We never knew that … REALLY???

  9. This made me laugh, especially that last paragraph. Last night I fell asleep with my front door wide-open and discovered it when I sent my kids to school this morning. Needless to say we all survived the night.

  10. I really enjoy your blog…if it weren’t for my children, I would so be traveling the country in a messed up Winnebago or something. But once you have kids, people get all weird about things like “School” and “consistency”…LOL! I guess I should have read the fine print. Except there was none. Sigh. I am looking forward to going back through all of your posts now, like some weird female stalker. Have a fantastic day.

  11. Got admit, I’d like to see your tattoos, but never rape you.. Now I know how you lost your voice…Lol sorry that was funny. There is always a rotten apple in the basket.
    Have a resting week!

  12. Great read as always. And It always makes us think.
    Yes the news make it look dark, the government makes it look better to show how good they are doing. The truth we hardly see as we to afraid to go out.
    People will take in if they know the person.In some way. guess we still have some way to go and it is stories like yours that may help us make that step.

    Lets go all in and stop on times to enjoy our world how it truly is. With our own eyes, mind and heart

    • “people will ale in if they the person…”

      Exactly, perhaps that is why people are more open to me; because they’ve got to know me a little bit through my writing?

  13. Yes, you could have a meal and the spare room here, but for all of those driving you around… It’s 2 hours from one side of town to the other… and if traffic is bad, my goodness – can’t I just give you the keys to the car? 🙂 Sounds like a great weekend was had by all… except for that young lady what was doomed to disappointment! Hope your throat/voice is better this week!

  14. Apart from anything else, your Drinking in the Culture tour has done wonders for my knowledge of the geography of the USA! I grew up in central Africa during the 1950s, a child of the colonies, and what I knew of the UK was patchy to say the least; as for America, it was a wonderful and mysterious land to me, which produced the comics I read (and loved) at a friend’s house, invented hot dogs and hamburgers and produced the films that were shown fortnightly at the Lusaka Drive-In. The only thing I really took on board was that Niagara Falls was MUCH smaller than our Victoria Falls (Mosi oa tunya – the smoke that thunders). Now, thanks to you I know where Minneapolis is, where Pittsburgh is, what a huge country you live in…it is fascinating. THANK YOU!

  15. Looks like it was yet another good weekend out there proving people have good hearts. The more who see i the more who believe it. Those ripples are spreading nicely now. Hugs

  16. Don’t you just love coffee shops!! What did we do before them? Great blog, interesting read 🙂

  17. I hitchhiked round a good deal of Europe in the 1960s and 70s. It would probably amaze you to know how many people allowed me into their homes, fed me, and let me sleep on their couches. Well, I can’t remember exactly how many, but it was a lot.
    In 2004, I decided to put the old thumb out again for an airing. I hope you don’t mind me linking to the account of my adventures:

  18. Ain’t that cool ? The comment from Herschelian?

  19. You raise some complex issues. I think, in ages past, it paid to be hospitable. We lived in difficult times. Now, we have less time for each other. We have news 24/7, and a data overload.
    Yet, the desire to connect with other people remains. This is what you discovered during your trip. It is a great trip

  20. I think you should have a Coffee Tour Down Under. Most Aussies think that Americans don’t really know coffee. I agree and I don’t. We drove Starbucks out of here but I suspect they are not part of your tour. Melbourne used to be considered the coffee capital of Australia and in recent times, Adelaide, my home town.
    I believe that Americans are fortunate as a macchiato or an espresso would still be quite cheap. I drink my coffee like the Italians … in a tiny cup, standing up and then off I go. On the odd occasion, I might feel compelled to be French and have a bowl. We don’t blink anymore when we pay $4.50 for a mug of latte.
    In Singapore, I have paid $13.50 for a latte that falls short of the normal standard here in Australia!
    When you say the Western World do you mean only North America?

  21. Great post, as usual, Kenneth. I agree with a lot of what you say about the media. It’s wonderful to be able to accompany you on your adventures like this. Thank you!

  22. I so agree about the media portraying the world to be a scary place…a much scarier place than the world really is, I think. As for the young woman who wanted to rape you, that had to be super awkward! Lol! The whole basically having a tattoo thing made me laugh too. You know that paper is a thing, right? 😛

  23. In our culture here in America, every conceivable subject is a marketing blitz; safety, security, charity, privacy and the list goes on. Of course, most are noble subjects we need to know. It’s the tsunami of the attack on our wallets and senses that prevent us from ever knowing the truth about each other. I’ve found that ignoring all the media and marketing and connecting to people has given me hope that our future is not bleak, on the contrary, we are on the edge of another evolution of the human spirit in a high technology world. I’m thankful for your part, Kenneth.

    • Willy, I wish I could simply stop ignoring the NEWS and whatnot, but its become such a part of my life to listen to NPR or turn on the cable news occasionally…. but I think your right that if we ignore it; we might end up having more hope for the future.

  24. Enjoying your adventures and have always felt the media has a lot to answer for when is comes to our well being and view of the world – by the way I think your travels (when and if you finish )would make an amazing, uplifting movie – give us all hope there are some good ( and some quirky) people out there !

  25. In my experience, those rapey girls are definitely the ones you want to avoid.

  26. Did you know that there’s something called “couchsurfing”? A site where you can find people who are willing to host travelers. If you ever come to Texas, you could sleep on my couch if you don’t mind sharing it with a house full of animals, 3 children, my daughter and I.

  27. As always, enjoyed your blog. I think your take on the safety of traveling is kinda like your approach to the world in general, it’s a ‘cup half full’ view. You take things in stride, give people the benefit of the doubt. My husband and I often take opposite sides in this discussion. Maybe it’s the way one is raised, or one’s believe patterns. I dunno, but I salute you and your generosity of spirit. When you write that book, I’ll be getting in line for a copy 😉

  28. I also want to see the world filled with good people rather than the other way around. I am sometimes disappointed but also happily surprised. So I’d rather see my glass half full than half empty with people. I agree with you. Totally.

  29. “And to that young woman who kept telling me she wanted to rape me, I’m sorry I let you down but that’s just not my thing.”

    That is something I don’t hear every day.

  30. I instantly got the full picture of your tattooed look and couldn’t stop laughing! 😀

    “Yet what I’m learning is that the world is nowhere near as scary as the evening news portrays.” Yep…sometimes the best thing to do for your mental health is turn off the news. Life is pretty f…ing amazing…if you just take a minute to look.

  31. And to that young woman who kept telling me she wanted to rape me, I’m sorry I let you down but that’s just not my thing.

    As I told Rob, I have no idea these sorts of females exist. Have I been sheltered? Have the times really changed that much?

  32. “And to that young woman who kept telling me she wanted to rape me, I’m sorry I let you down but that’s just not my thing.”

    Well that just blew the man who wanted to spank me right out of the water, Mr. J!!!! Haha..I do remember you saying something about laughing it off.

    Great post! Good thoughts for sure…but wow.

  33. I know you are overwhelmed by on the run and perhaps you should try some small coffee’s shops from time to time in little villages where time still stands…just another way of harassment, lol

  34. I agree with your post. The news is full of fear mongers, trying to scare us all into our homes so we can do nothing but watch tv. I live in Korea and hear it all from my family anytime something is posted about here and the neighbor to the north. I like reading your blog! Great work!

  35. I grew up in the era of hitchikers in the early 70’s when it was no big deal to hitchhike. Then we went into the scary place. Now I can’t imagine hitchiking but I’m glad you’ve found people to be so giving and friendly. I LOVE reading your experiences and I can’t wait till you come to SF! Hope I”m around… lol

  36. Kenneth, your adventures really bring out our deep desire for connection and willingness to do so when given the chance. As people have gotten to know you via the blog, the fear hurdles are overcome and we can be more vulnerable, enabling us to be who we really want to be around each other. And this is where we find each other and see the real value we have as fellow sojourners in this world. It’s very hard to judge or reject people you connect with this way. Instead, we learn to truly love and receive love. You’ve done a great job in journaling this for us. I don’t think people have changed at all since those earlier days. If given the chance to be open and hospitable, they will gladly do so. It’s in our DNA to want real intimacy and meaningful friendship.

  37. I am enjoying your posts here. I am sure it is true that we have become much more fearful of each other. I know so many people carrying guns in their cars these days — scares the hell out of me.

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