There’s a slice of West Texas where everybody waves to one another as they pass by in their pickups.
Whether it’s a brand new F-350 or a beat up old Dodge, it’s instinctual in the locals to raise at least two fingers from their steering wheel to acknowledge another passing human. It’s beautiful, like a country song fairy tale.
There’s another place that type of camaraderie exists: campgrounds. Nearly every camper will wave to their fellows as we all pass one another, whether in vehicles or on foot. Some of us are the well to do retired, some are just trying to live cheaply on their way into a new life in a new city. Most are white, many are Latino, some are black. But we all do it.
For a nation so entrenched in hate crimes, laws banning gay marriage and protests against both, it’s an amazing thing to see how we all find commonality at the campgrounds.
Other sub-cultures of travel acknowledge this idea. Peace signs through the windows of passing VW Buses. Airstreamers showing up at one another’s campgrounds to ask the fabled ice breaker, “So what year is yours?”
Do it long enough and something just starts to show through your eyes. Hitchhiking loners, trainhopping lovers and full-timing families alike can see it from a mile away, or at the very least when we look one another in the eyes.
America is a traveling country. It’s like rock n’ roll before Elvis, or football before the NFL. It’s coming, in a big way, most of the country just doesn’t realize it yet.