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Accepting rides from strangers

This is the fourth of five posts about travel that celebrate the launch of my online class, Manifest Money for Spiritual Travel.

The follies of youth never hurt when you are living them, its when you look back and see how incredibly stupid you were that the real pain sets in.  Reliving how careless you were with the gift of a good, easy life is enough to make you blush with embarrassment.  Yet, deep in that red hot ball of shame are the embers of  fearlessness, which is what got you in all that trouble in the first place.

I was 20 years old, living in a frat house on the MIT campus for the summer, and funded by a research grant from my lovely Alma Matter Miami of Ohio.  In between shifts at HMV, daily runs along the Charles River, and evening soaks in the rooftop hot tub, I was interviewing social service agencies and collecting data on how welfare reform had impacted their clients.  (This was 2000, five years after Wisconsin Works had been introduced by Tommy Thompson and was spreading nationwide).  I was taking the bus all around Suffolk County, equipped with a legal pad, a few pens, and a backpack full of naivete.

Naturally, I was lost like 95% of the time during these research trips.  One time, flustered after getting off on the bus at the wrong stop, I walked into a Dunkin’ Donuts and asked directions.  The cashier had no idea how to help me, and I was feeling hopeless.

“Where you want is a few miles north of here,” said the guy behind me in line.  “I’m headed that way, if you want a ride. But….”

“Yes!  Thank you!”  I hadn’t even stopped for a moment to size the guy up, who I would later realize was in his late 40s and wearing some kind of worker’s uniform. When I saw his truck, a nondescript pick-up, I didn’t even think to look at the plates, you know, just in case.  Instead, I hopped right in the passenger seat, sipping loudly on my iced coffee.  God knows what we talked about during the ride, but I do remember our parting words.

“Here you go, little lady,” he said.  “You know, its not a good idea to get in a vehicles with a strange man when you’re lost.”

“You know,” I responded. “It’s not a good idea to let strangers into your car, either.”  And with that, I opened the door and kept walking.  Unscathed and still alive, and yet none the wiser for it.  I am so grateful that is how it turned out.

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Why not create your dream trip and then find grants or scholarships to fund it?  Really, you can.  I have and so have countless others.  Lesson one of my online course, Manifest Money for Spiritual Travel, describes in detail where to find grants and scholarships for travel. Enroll today.

Photo by Flickr User WalknBoston

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