It is late Sunday afternoon and I am testing the limits of my motion sickness by writing this post on the train to Grand Central Station. Phase two of our journey has officially begun – what I like to call (affectionately) “The Road to Nowhere – Midwest Edition.” All 5 of us are squished in our seats, straddling our massive backpacks and using ukuleles as pillows. We made sure to pack the essentials: assorted flavors of Adamah jam, a spare centrifuge, the dismantled logistics binder, and our grease-stained Teva tshirts. In the morning, we will (G-d willing) be flying westward towards a magical land callllllllled… drumroll please… DETROIT, MICHIGAN!
The past week has been filled with rice and beans, birthday love, sweltering bus rides, friendship in unexpected places, and brewing thunderstorms. We left Isabella Freedman late Thursday night and headed to Camp Kinder Ring, all of us giddy to be back with our big metal baby. Friday morning we fell smoothly back into the grind of talking worms, bicycle smoothies, and introducing children to the wonders of soil. When the day was over, we made our way down to Fahnstock State Park to prepare for the camping Shabbliss. Itai got back on his beloved bicycle and peddled us some ped-pesto for dinner (did you know that everything tastes better if you make it on a bicycle blender?!) A thunderstorm was rolling in and it really felt like all of the weight of the passing week was preparing to release itself with the rain. I was grateful for the shelter of our beloved bus, and how it can so seamlessly transform from vehicle to classroom to rejuvenating and sweet home. If you ever feel the need to redefine your understanding of what home is, I highly recommend living on an upside bus for a summer! Shabbat came and so did our dear friends from Eden Village Camp – we ate so much salad, sang, and took full advantage of ample nap time.
Our week was filled with back-to-back programs in the New York region. There were early mornings, long drives, music videos recorded, and new meals invented. We mastered the art of rice-cooker-on-the-go; by the end of our long evenings of driving, dinner was ready and the bus was filled with smells of our now famous dish “squash n’ beans.” During our programs, I really began to find the meditation in saying the same 15-minute shpiel over and over and over again. And just when it begins to feel like all of my words are turning into a mushy repetitive mess, children throw out a plot twist with the questions they come up with. From asking how we manage to shower (and the subsequent looks of horror when our answer is given) to asking if we are all dating and how we are going to raise children on the bus, I feel prepared to counter any inquiry. And then there is the observant kid, who at the end of the day comes to me and asks, “why are you doing this? Are you satisfied with your life on the bus?” Big shoutout to these kids for making me stop and remember why I got myself on this wacky journey in the first place. At the end of the day, when I am lying in the less-than-pleasurable heat of the bus, I feel truly whole, energized, supported, and blessed by the place I am in.
BIG and special thanks to the Ward Family of Scarsdale and Beth El day camp for being true members of the bus tour family year after year.