I took my niece to my daughter’s to stay the week. Actually, I only took her halfway to Kentucky. On the way back I was getting super sleepy. I had Mel (my son) with me, but since he’s not old enough to drive, I decided to stop at a truck stop and stretch and grab something to munch on to wake me up. On my way in the store, I see this hippie chick strumming on her little guitar or ukulele. I don’t know what it was. So I go inside, grab what I’m getting and walk out the other door with $5 in my hand to give the drifting girl. When I get to her, I see she has a dog and that she’s heading to Knoxville. So, of course, I offer her a ride. I have a tendency to pick up strangers or get in cars with strangers. I know, I know. “You have to be careful.” I am. I trust my gut. It hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
So she and her dog get in the car with me and my kid and we ride back to Knoxville. She was 24 and had been on the road for 3 years. She was heading to her sister’s in North Carolina for a bit before getting back to it. We talked about everything that would fit into our short one hour drive back to town and then I dropped her off at a local truck stop and. of course, asked her to friend me on Facebook so I could keep up with her travels. That’s the great thing about young drifters. They haven’t been able to part with the technology. Instead, they use it to connect to other drifters in different states. It’s genius, really.
Later that day, she sent me a message on messenger saying that she hadn’t been able to hitch a ride. It was getting dark and spitting rain. She asked if she could crash at my house. Of course, I said yes. So I went and picked her up and brought her back to the house. We took a little trip to the laundromat as she had been wearing her clothes for a while and wanted to wash them while she was near civilization, and I had stuff to wash, so we did that. And then came home and I cooked dinner and we ate and chit chatted for a little while. She showered and changed in to clean clothes before sleeping on my couch.
She is part of this rainbow people group. I’ll have to do more research, but they basically just wander around from place to place feeding people. There’s a bus. And a bunch of folks that panhandle to raise money to feed the homeless in bigger cities. Or something like that. Anyway, she was a super cool girl with her head just enough in the clouds to be interesting and close enough to the ground to take care of herself (when I picked her up, she asked to see my ID so she could send a pic to her mom).
I’ve always had a soft spot for drifters, travelers, barefoot gypsy goddesses. I completely get why they would want to just wander around and see things and live off the land, and meet new people, and just love each other. I guess that’s why I always pick them up. In another life, I probably would have been one. Maybe in the next life, I will be.