The Journey

The Alabama Humanities Foundation will sponsor a traveling exhibition called “Journey Stories” in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution beginning June 25 in Jasper. This post is the first in a series that will highlight our own personal journey stories. Our stories may include how our ancestors traveled from far away lands to come to America, or it could be about a memorable family trip to anywhere in the world, or perhaps it’s a story about our first car or train ride. Anything that includes travel and transportation can be considered our own journey story. If you would like to submit your own journey story, please email Jennifer Dome at: jdome@ahf.net.

By Cynthia Martin, AHF Programs and Development Assistant

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Confucius

I recently took a journey of over 7,000 miles that began as I stepped over to the computer and signed onto Facebook. His name was “Brother Rama” and he was from India. He graduated from a college in the United States with several of my friends. They all spoke very highly of him and his ministry to people with HIV/AIDS in India. Still, I was totally unprepared for what occurred when I befriended him on Facebook and viewed his pictures for the first time. The precious people in those pictures reached out and grabbed my heart. For me, they could not remain nameless faces in some far away land. I had to know their names, I had to go there, and I had to meet them.

As my friend and I were preparing to go to India, the plans went slightly awry due to her job. Instead of the two of us traveling together for the entire duration of the trip, I was going alone for one week prior to her arrival. I had never gone to a foreign country before, especially not alone. (Well, visiting Mexico with a large youth group in the 1980s doesn’t count.) A somewhat apprehensive lady stepped on a plane in Birmingham headed all alone to India. A confident, although suffering from jet-lag and slightly sick, lady stepped off a plane at the same airport three weeks later.

It was a journey unlike one I had ever experienced before. It wasn’t just traveling on an airplane to a foreign land. It opened up new opportunities in other areas of my life as well. Many people have suggested I write a book about my life history. I felt so inadequate in my writing skills that I had not done it. I decided to “test” my writing abilities by starting a blog to keep others informed of my trip to India. It was adeptly entitled, “The Journey.” I made new friends from all over the world that stumbled upon my blog and contacted me. My confidence in my writing skills have soared somewhat and I am seriously considering writing that book.

Upon my arrival home, I stepped over to the computer to begin writing the stories of those precious people I had met and how they arrived at Happiness Home, the shelter for people with HIV/AIDS. Not only did I meet them and see their faces, I now knew their names and was tasked with writing their personal journey stories.