Contrary to what you might believe, this post has nothing to do with long-distance running. It has everything to do with long-distance driving, though. You see, I packed up and left my home in northeastern Illinois on Saturday morning. I drove for three days and arrived in the Sacramento, California area around supper time last night. The whole idea was to get out here so I could do a summer internship with AdFarm, which I explained here. I saw and experienced a lot of things, but I want to focus on one thing in specific here: relationships. Community.
To me, having friends all over the country seems like a fairly natural thing. I whole-heartedly realize how much I’ve taken that for granted, though. When I found out I was going to be driving a hefty 2,100 miles from Chicago to Sacramento, I started researching who I knew along the route. I had friends that I wanted to see! And let me tell you, I’m glad I turned this into a fairly social affair.
My first stop along the way was central Nebraska. There, I stayed with Zach and Anna Hunnicutt. Their hospitality blew me away. Anna was waiting at the front door when I pulled up to their house, and the first thing we did was head to town for supper. (Zach even sat in the back seat between two car seats so that I could have the more comfortable shotgun seat. I tried to get a picture, but he was too quick for me.) The next morning we had pancakes and some quality goof-off time with their kids. Zach even burnt me a few CD’s to guarantee that I didn’t exhaust my music collection. (He also said it was unthinkable to allow me to drive through Wyoming without some Chris Ledoux to listen to!)
The second day, I met my friend Steve Tucker and his family for lunch in western Nebraska. He and his family treated me to a lovely lunch, and then Steve checked the oil in my car. These acts of kindness have really hit home, and made my cross-country drive that much more gratifying.
At least for me, there’s something easy and effortless about making friends through Twitter and Facebook and the AgChat Foundation. And it’s easy to talk about things like family and friends and home and your everyday life on a fairly superficial level. I’d already known a great deal about the people I met with, but there’s something genuine and heart-warming about taking an Internet friendship and making it that much more personal. I met families, I had face-to-face interactions.
I love all of my Twitter friends, a lot. And I don’t consider anyone less of a friend because I haven’t met them in person yet. Do not think I am saying that, at all; there’s just something so tangible about experiencing that relationship in the here-and-now, rather than separated by miles and data.
Because of these people, my drive across the U.S. was even more enriching. I was met with hospitality and friendship. I’ll be eternally grateful for that, and look forward to meeting many more of my AgChat friends in the years to come!
Zach’s Twitter account.
Steve’s Twitter account.