Shake Your Tail Feathers, Mama! (UPDATED!)

Okay, so this is realistic, right? The United States of America consists of 3.8 million miles. The distance from Atlanta to New York for my dad’s 90th birthday next April would be 893 miles. From there to Los Angeles to celebrate my 60th birthday next August would be 2,817 miles. And I’d be traveling on a $350 folding ebike that maxes out at 15 miles per hour and has a battery charge life of about the same. So add buses and trains to the mix. Warmshowers. CouchSurfing.

My current (amazing) job ends October 15. I’m wide open. And so, finally (as all bike riders seem to find at one time or another) is the map.

I’d leave March 4, 2023 (march forth!). Oh, and I’d strap a multicolored duck named Disco onto my handlebars because, my god, the world seems to suck right now and ducks make people forget that for just a sec. I’d make TikToks about his journey. And yeah, there would probably be a book as well (a story less about Disco and me and more about you out there, strangers I’ve yet to meet) because that’s what I do.

So I bring this up with my husband and, after the whole Peace Corps rigamarole, he says, “I actually think this is something you should do. It sounds like a good idea.”

If you haven’t met my husband yet in my book, Bucket List, you’re in for a treat. I think he is absolutely hilarious in that (and in general), or maybe it’s just the weird-yet-effective yin and yang of the two of us together all these years (32, and counting). We are very different.

And so, as with all ideas, it starts with the acceptance that this idea, that anything, is possible.

“Don’t forget about the WWOOF webinar,” I remind him, after returning from New York to check in on two of my elderly parents following my dad’s surgery.

WWOOF, by the way, stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You help out for about five hours a day for free room and board as well as experiential learning. Our younger daughter almost WWOOFed in Italy this summer so we’ve been exposed to it for awhile. We decide I should limit myself (for now) to the USA so that I can pivot easily if needed for the elders (now several years older than when my Peace Corps journey started).

So my husband is on one computer in the office, and Disco and I are on another in the dining room, when we both shout out simultaneously about something mentioned.


And thus we realize the incredible diversity of opportunities right here in our country. Small family homesteads, large vegetable farms, orchards, vineyards, horse ranches, llamas, ducks, turkeys, sheep, BISON! There are 1,500 different experiences from which to choose.

A few minutes on the WOOF USA site drops you down the diversity of housing options as well. Private rooms in the main house, separate cabins, dorms in barns, tent camping, yurts, even a converted caravan.

Yes. This impossible, weird idea suddenly starts to feel rooted, grounded, real. What’s more, it starts to sound fun, interesting, and maybe even profitable as I pick up freelancing work and grow my expertise in ways that are increasingly important in our world-in-crisis.

So, Disco and I ride to my Sharing Garden at the community garden for refugees that I created a year ago right now when my Peace Corps service (originally scheduled to start June 20, 2020) got delayed yet again due to COVID. We realize we are now officially in training for our cross-country journey, that what was impossible no longer is.

Shake your tail feathers, MAma.

We Are on our way.


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