This morning, as I was brushing my teeth in the Alsea River Campground (and Marina)’s tightly quartered bathroom, a young Amish woman (probably early to mid 20s) entered the room and met my gaze for a fleeting moment, before ducking her head and abruptly averting her eyes. She was robed in a manner that no skin on her body or hair on her head was showing; obviously, this was how I determined anything about her–sans her height and approximate age.
I told Levi about the incident because we spend ~100% of our time together and any tidbits of amusing restroom fodder make for great conversations. Also, despite the depth and breadth of our travels, we don’t really run into Amish people (we also don’t hang out in the Midwest or Northeast all too much, so that’s not wildly surprising, I suppose). We’ve encountered and chatted up people from myriad walks of life–border patrol agents, wealthy retirees, zealots, yogis, teachers, lawyers, recovering addicts, and countless others. But when thinking about this Amish woman and how we ended up in the same campground, I immediately realized that my intimate knowledge of these people comes from watching documentaries. What a bizarre realization.
What later struck me is that she could’ve been thinking the very same thing about me (were she privy to Netflix). I must’ve appeared as a completely peculiar being–my disheveled, bright red morning hair, hot pink Betty Boop-covered robe, tattoos, piercings, and silver sequined flip flops. How strange and unusual (“I myself am…”–anyone?) I quite possibly might have appeared to this person.
On the flip side, perhaps this traveler is far more cultured when it comes to the varied lifestyles of American people than I could ever be, and she didn’t give me a second thought. Regardless, sociology is fascinating and is one of the best parts of being on the road as a lifestyle. You never know who you’ll meet, or run into, or end up being BFFs with on social media. When you’re on the road all of the time, it’s not vacation any longer; it’s not taking a road trip. It’s your life. So you start appreciating and viewing things differently than ever before–at least, I know I certainly have.
Traveling has perks that can’t be explained; only experienced.