"One's destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things."
- Henry Miller
Sunny, blue skies, and big white clouds. That’s my favorite type of weather. It’s the type that gives me a whimsical and happy attitude, and an opportunity to guess what animal shapes I can find in the sky. I also think it’s fun when it rains, especially when there’s lightning and thunder. After a month of living in Louisiana, I've learned that the weather can be highly emotional —with one moment bright and sunny, then the next heavy rain and floods, or maybe even both. But when it comes to the weather, I’ll definitely miss how quickly the mood can change from serenity to an adventure.
Bookpacking as well as the weather defines a lifestyle that predisposed me to be up for anything— an adventurous mood that I already miss. This sense of adventure stems from not only my curiosity to learn and experience, but more importantly, the land we roamed on and the people we encountered.
When we arrived in Cajun Louisiana, most of us were kind of confused and wondered what we could possibly do next to a swamp in small, secluded cabins. We were fairly isolated from the city, unless we took the car somewhere. And while resting for a bit was nice, we started to catch some "cabin fever" and just wanted to explore the outside world. We needed something other than our cheesy decade-themed rooms. So we headed out to town to experience some Cajun music.
There was a sweet charm to this part of Louisiana. A very familial, relaxed, and welcoming feeling. We entered a little cafe called Joie de Vivre. The room was filled with lively music and happy faces drinking cafè au lait. These happy faces were mostly older people, with groups of families sitting together. Folks gladly played their instruments: the fiddle, bass, guitar, among others. A couple people were also casually dancing along and some bookpackers stood up to dance as well. Some even started joining the band too!
We were very obviously not from town or anywhere near town, but this opened up opportunity to have conversations and meet people. As I was dancing and admiring the art on the wall, a woman called me over to ask what we were doing in town. I explained to her and her family about bookpacking and that we’re from the University of Southern California (people are always baffled that we’re from California). Her husband’s eyes lit up, and he couldn’t believe that a bunch of young people from California cared about learning Cajun culture. He kept asking me questions and what I thought of it and all of that. It was such a joy to talk to the locals and have the opportunity to even celebrate their culture with them.
Reflecting upon this experience, I have never seen so much of another culture in a period of time. As mentioned before, I had never been away from home for so long. To be guided by Andrew, by literature, and by the place itself has been such a blessing this past month. I’m thankful for all the friends I’ve made and the memories shared as well. Going home is sweet, and I can’t wait to share what I have learned with the people here (and hopefully encourage them to go on next year’s bookpacking trip!)
Overall, Bookpacking was a wonderful way to learn about myself, what the world looked like in the past, and how I want the world to look in the future.
Last photos from this month: