Tales of a 21st Century Gypsy

November 25 Places to travel

Iíve been reading some about places in the USA that I donít know. That started because of sorting my books. I have a lot of books that Iíve owned for years but never read. Some of them I could easily just give away. But others I looked into and found they are still interesting. So they are in the ďread it now, take it with, or give it awayĒ pile. I wonít let myself keep them in the basement to read someday in the future. And Iíve started reading them, at least some of them. I read a book called The Promised Land, about black migration to the north beginning in the 1940s or thereabouts. It was very interesting, and shed light on regions of the country and aspects of our past and present that I had no idea of before. I also read a book by Ann Matthews on the buffalo commons, an idea dreamed up by Frank Popper, whose office is down the hall from mine. Itís about another region of the country I've never thought about, the Great Plains, and its land use and ecological problems. I want to visit some of that country in my travels, see what the Mississippi cotton areas are like, and what small towns in America are like.

I sent an email this morning to the Truman scholars listserv, asking what they might suggest in the way of other reading and places to visit. This could put some structure into my travels, using them to really educate myself about the country and get a broader perspective on what itís all about. Of course part of me feels that these travels should lead to writing, to a broader understanding of something that I can share with other people, and that they might care to read. While another part of me just wants to hang out and ride my bike and paddle my kayak and not be so structured and organized. I donít really think I could just wander around with no purpose. Meeting some of the Trumans might be an interesting way to get a broader view on the country. They are people who are engaged with the community, who see policy questions and civic engagements as a necessary component of their own lives and their responsibilities. At least some do, I assume Ė one would think that people who won a scholarship for careers in public service would be attentive to whatís happening around them.

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