Walking Across America (Bilingual Version) by Lingyang Jiang
Chapter One “Get set…”
I hate to get bored. I therefore won’t bore you with all those lofty motives in my walking across America. Let’s just say I had a plan to work in Hong Kong. I wanted to make sure that I had enough facts on the American ground to share in that part of the world. Globalization doesn’t exclude localization. It would be a shame if I didn’t know much about the neck of my woods. America is the neck of my woods.
Myself a marathoner, I was in good shape for training to walk mile after mile each and every day, rain or shine. That’s the easy part, relatively speaking. What’s hard was to enable myself to take on the psychological toll whatever that meant. With all due respect to all those across-America walkers I ran into on the internet, I had learned of their heroism and romance so much that I couldn't help but wonder if fact and fiction were interchangeable. Yes, I might expect a mean-spirited sheriff in some small town, but I couldn’t imagine myself as a reincarnated Rambo. Yes, I might expect a friendly conversation with a beauty somewhere, but I couldn’t imagine myself as a reincarnated Romeo.
Learning by doing. Thank you, John Dewey!
Away from my college town, I backpacked around Massachusetts just about every weekend. Boston is actually close by, but it made no less sense to me. The Cradle of Liberty turned out to be quite an awesome training ground for getting myself more street-smart. I quickly learned that I needed a fellow traveler to avoid unnecessary suspicion. By the way, I am a social creature just like you. So I adopted a dog. It didn’t mean I agreed with Mark Twain who once said, “The more I know people, the more I love my dog.” I simply couldn’t afford the cons of human companionship even though I readily appreciated the pros of it.
With a lovely dog in tow, I was better-received by strangers in my home state. Walking with an unleashed formidable dog practically as my equal, I was much much better-received by strangers when I ventured out into the Appalachian Mountains every now and then. I was training my dog while my dog was training me.
I was a Johnny-come-lately to the scene of dog adoption. Well, better late than never. Anyway, you will hear a lot more about my dog if you care to keep up with me. You’d better do.
To be continued …
My fiancée, her kid sister, and our four-legged family member. My across-America dog has found a place in heaven recently.