The dust jacket on Kimberly Meyer’s Book of Wanderings caught my attention. Her vision of living a“bohemian life of exploration,” her craving for intellectual stimulation and a search for meaning in settings around the world matched my own.
Meyer and I also shared the experience of trading that lifestyle for the daunting adventure of being single moms. While she and I had entered single-motherhood differently, the impact was the same. We exchanged suitcases for diaper bags, travel guides for nursery rhymes.
Naturally, when Meyer came to campus for the Visiting Writers Series, I found a seat at Cataldo Hall well before the students, and dove right into my fresh new copy of Wanderings. Now on the other side of child rearing, the author shared reflections on taking up a global voyage with her now-grown daughter. It dawned on me: In less than a decade, I could be embarking on my own mother-daughter pilgrimage.
Encountering someone who understands your journey is validating. In my case, that came through relating with an author via words on pages and a face-to-face encounter. Within a university environment, those possibilities are fostered perhaps like no other place. With access to incredibly smart faculty members, insightful students, remarkable guest lecturers, and so much support for the quest to learn, the college setting is ripe for meaningful alliances.
In sharing such connections, we are reminded that our human experience is based on common ground. So tell me your story. I want to hear what song, artist, author, person or encounter left you with the remarkable sense that someone else out there understood your journey.