The Caravan, Year 2 - Part 3 of 3: Amarillo, Santa Fe, Grand Junction
Sitting now, back at home in LA, I am filled with deep gratitude and awe as I write this final recap of Year 2 of The Caravan. I've been home for a few days now, taking a breath and grounding back into life off-the-road. Feels like I'm finally at a place where I can write to you all about the experience. (Honestly, writing to you is a really helpful part of finding completion for me. So, thank you for reading this.)
People continually ask me, "How was The Caravan this year?"
It's such a big question, with so many different ways of answering.
"It was amazing!" is one, true answer. I use the word "amazing" here literally, not as hyperbole, but rather in the dictionary-definition-sense of "causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing." The work that we did together in so many cities around this country, co-creating so many different, impactful moments of greater understanding, deep connection, and loving service is something that I am quite literally surprised and astonished by both as it's happening, and in retrospect.
"It was challenging" is also a true response. It requires a lot of funds, logistics, communication, time, energy, and resilience to work with so many different teams, while also being in motion, driving sometimes 8-10 hours in a day. It's hard on the body. It's mentally and empathically strenuous. It's volunteer, unpaid work. It requires a lot of social energy that can be hard to sustain. (TLDR: I'm tired, y'all.)
"It was really fun." This part I hope comes through to you in these recaps, how fun it is. To see the country, to meet new people, to collaborate with friends new and old, to problem-solve together, to reunite and catch up with folks we've been working with for years now, to learn new things and to see new places. To celebrate victories, and to create memories. It's one of the best ways I could imagine to spend a Summer.
"It was moving." I am so inspired by the incredible work we witnessed as we visited and supported charitable groups around the country, as we spoke to and connected with folks experiencing major hardship who somehow find hope. I was moved by peoples' resilience, their commitment and fortitude, their generosity and compassion in the face of what are sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges.
I am grateful to report: there's so much beauty in the world. There's so many good people. It's an honor to bear witness to it and participate in it.
I want to give you a window into the final leg of the journey here, and I'm gonna start us off with a share from my friend Catherine Clary who joined me after the mid-break where we met up in Amarillo, Texas to volunteer at a center that helps refugees...
(WANT TO SUPPORT THE JOURNEY? We are still accepting donations toward the out-of-pocket expenses If you'd like to donate toward our cause, we are accepting donations via Paypal and Venmo here.)
Amarillo, Texas- The Place (Refugee Language Project)
From Catherine Clary (thank you Catherine for writing this and for introducing us to this incredible organization from Amarillo!): "Ben and I had a wonderful day volunteering at The PLACE in Amarillo, Texas. The PLACE is an innovative multicultural and resource center that is a collaboration between 3 service organizations: The Refugee Language Project (RLP) (learning English), We Find in Love (art, service, community), and Square Mile (economic development).