Joining in (Drive Day 21 minus 14 years)

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I am dancing on a tile floor covered with pigeon shit, some fresh. I didn’t expect to stumble upon an indigenous Nahua dance circle in the town of Tonala. The leader is calling out the steps in something far from Spanish. But the language of hand drum and pan flute is universal to modern dancers and I kick off my shoes and let my feet follow the patterns.


Gary has started keeping a journal. Like my mom did, he notes the conditions and details of each stopping place – temperature and altitude. Unlike my mom, he also describes what he sees. Like how my dancing reminds him of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Tonala, Mexico: photo by Gary Geboy

But he joins in too. Not the dance class but a first communion. Back home I doubt even the proudest parents would spot a stranger with a camera and spontaneously pose their children for his lens. We must exude passing through-ness, the anonymity of travel.

Or as Gary’s notes describe it “Wipeout got sick and life goes on.”

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom my website landing page or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

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