In my mind, I visited six states over the past eleven days. Did I only step foot in five of them? Maybe. Was one of the state visits completely unplanned and coincidental? Also maybe.
I actually never thought that I would ever visit Texas. I have nothing explicitly against Texas, it’s just not a place that I would think to go to. Turns out, I ended up in Texas, along with 17 of my peers, and three teachers. I was vastly unprepared for the amount of sheer culture shock, Dr. Pepper, Southern charm, concrete overpasses, Pop2K satellite radio, and churches that I would encounter and experience along the way.
For 10 days, PLP 11 and 12 travelled across four different states in the American south. Our journey took us through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri.
We crossed our first state line into Oklahoma after five days in Texas, and were greeted by endless wind farms.
After a true Southern experience at Cracker Barrel, we made our way to Bentonville, and saw a lot of Walmart’s and Walmart-adjacent businesses, as well as the stunning Crystal Bridges Museum of Art (also Walmart adjacent).
Travel teaches us things. It expands our worldview, introduces us to new people, places, and experiences, and helps us to better understand other human beings. I had the chance to meet and speak with some incredible people on this trip, and the experiences that I had were once in a lifetime opportunities. Like Ms. Willemse said at Silver Dollar City, “You can come back here again, but you will never be with the same people and experience the same thing.” That has stuck with me since, and it has made me realize even more how special it was to be able to go on this trip in the first place, and how incredible the experiences that I had were.
I laughed, I cried, I learned, I adapted. I had great moments, good moments, hard moments, and definitely memorable moments. All in all, I remember being inspired and moved by Shelia at LBJ and the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial (if you ever get to go, go at night. Absolutely incredible experience that I will truly never forget). I remember being surprised by Peter’s story at the Branch Davidian Compound. I remember us all being utterly exhausted from long days and how the only consistent thing about this trip was the continental breakfast. I am leaving this trip with experiences that are truly so so special, and memories that I can’t even truly explain.