On The Road Again

My bags are packed and I’ve been ready to go for some time now. My life is back to being on the road, this time for work.

I might not be in as exotic locations as Nairobi or Luang Prabang, but to me the stops in the next few weeks seem just as foreign – the Midwest of America – Cleveland, OH, Dearborn, MI, Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, and Kansas City. The trips are for work so most of the time is spent in conference halls and hotel ball rooms, but it is a taste of the country closer to home and one I have never experienced before.

We had a dinner our first night in Cleveland at a local restaurant where the waiter inadvertently insulted our choices and us the entire night through. We found it rather humorous and a welcome sign to a new state. We closed the restaurant at 10PM and no cabs could come to pick us up so we ended up riding home in the back of the truck from one of the waiters in the restaurant. We wished we could say the truck was filled with pumpkins but sadly it was just us in a truck bed of a stranger, but fun all the same.

Days later and having seen nothing beyond the hotel and its parking lots, we drove out of Cleveland late at night past Toledo and signs for Chicago. We hugged the side of Lake Erie and drove into Detroit after midnight with Eminem playing in my ears (yes, I know it is a cliché, but I do love Eminem). We drove through Motor City and past Pontiac, General Motors, Chevy, and Ford. Again nothing much was experienced past the hotel lobby but we did make it out late our final night to experience a taste of authentic Dearborn, MI. The only authentic local recommendation past Benihana and T.G.I. Fridays was the restaurant Miller’s. A 70-year-old institution with only one menu on the wall “Hamburger, Cheeseburger (Velveeta mix), Chicken Sandwich, Fries, and Onion Rings. NOTHING ELSE”. Great local beer and an etched deer head on the mirrors behind the bar, we were all ecstatic to experience this true piece of Americana. The restaurant still runs on an honor system, no bill, you tell the bartender what you ordered and pay. LOVE IT! The burger was amazing. Voted as one of the 100 best burgers of America, it was just what I wanted on a cool fall Michigan night ,with game two of the world series on the screen, can you get any more AMERICAN!

I head out again for more exciting locations and long hours of work but I have to say I am excited. My appetite has been whetted. I want more.

I read a marvelous article in Travel and Leisure October 2011 by Guy Trebay. He talks about the drive and passion for travel in today’s world. It is a moving account and a true rousing testament to seeing the world around us whether it is as close as Cleveland, OH or as far flung as Amboseli, Kenya. He describes how for good or bad “…Destiny always seems close when we travel…” and for me it always does.

When I was two or three years old my mother began to prompt me with “Ra, what is your destiny? Ask yourself every day because you know it is inside you and I don’t want you to lose it.” I remember being frustrated if not at two and three than by my teens when she continued to say the same thing. And sadly I think I did lose my destiny or spent too much time thinking about it. But as Mr. Trebay said, when I travel I don’t think about it or many other things, I just live; I am just in travel and that is the gift. A burger in Dearborn and Crickets in Siem Reap are both life assuring.

So once again, I am as Willie Nelson sings “Goin’ places that I’ve never been. Seein’ things that I may never see again” and I am pleased to say I have done and seen them.

Safe travels wherever you are, and enjoy whatever you are eating,

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10 2011

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  1. Sarah Machuel ( aka Wambui) #

    My dear Ramona, i hope everything is going wonderful for you. Simon sent me an email a few days ago saying that the kids are good Kayla is a lot healthier and Sam grew up a lot. He also said that Margaret has changed a lot( thank god) and that she prepared a guideline and orientation for future volunteers he said she looked a lot more involved, i cannot wait to see that and talk with her ( not her yelling in swahili to me). I will be in Kenya in less than a month and i feel more and more excited everyday, life after Keny

  2. Sarah Machuel ( aka Wambui) #

    after Kenya hasnt been easy so far. If you wanna come visit hakuna matata rafiki you sleep at my place and i will make you chapati =)
    You have been a wonderful roomate and i wish you the best!

    • ra #

      Thanks for the update Sarah on the kids. I am so excited and happy that you will be returning to Kenya. I would love to come back and visit. Please sty in touch and let me know how everything is over there. Be well my dear and I look forward to a time we can spend together again in the future.

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