Boise has been a beautiful place to heal and prepare myself for a really scary and difficult project that also promises to be full of learning, adventure, trouble, and growth. I’ve spent a week here learning how to communicate openly with groups of people about my feelings and needs and how important it is not to close myself off to emotional experiences.
The days have been full of hot springs, cuddle puddles, trips, hikes, stories, adventures, trespasses, intimate conversations. One defining element of my time here has been working through romantic relationships with multiple people in close proximity. This has led to a lot of conflict, a lot of communication, and pretty positive resolutions for the most part. It has made me reflect on how difficult it can be for me to be honest and open in group situations compared to one on one interactions, and helped me work through some of my reservations.
As someone who at least sporadically identifies as an anarchist, negotiating the boundaries of interpersonal relationships can be challenging. Although I am strongly drawn to the idea of autonomy, I am learning that I actually appreciate being asked to make sacrifices for people around me, and that expectations can be either oppressive or liberatory, depending on how they’re constructed.
I guess this post is less about stories, more about overall impressions.
I’m leaving Boise tomorrow with a whole lot of love and a commitment to patience and open communication heading forward.
One other thing that has come up for me has been the worry my family has expressed to me about hitchhiking. I think maybe this is something a lot of travelers, and particularly female-assigned travelers, encounter at various times. I remember when I was traveling alone a few years back being repeatedly asked if my parents knew where I was, and remember how deeply furious I was that people were unable to respect my ability to make decisions for myself.
That said, hitchhiking is not without danger, and I have felt a lot of anxiety around communicating my decisions about this trip to my family. One of the most important things I feel like I have kept in mind around this is that while hitchhiking is not the safest way to travel, neither is driving while sleep deprived. While I may be at risk of rape, I’m at a much lower risk than I would be at a frat party. The risks I’m taking are treated as extraordinary because they aren’t normalized like unsafe driving and date rape are. The dangers we encounter every day are often not acknowledged, which makes the unusual risks I take feel much more extreme. Thus far, I have taken at least a dozen rides with strangers and have never felt at all unsafe, or even really uncomfortable (except perhaps in moments when people casually make offensive jokes or comments). That doesn’t mean I expect to never have a bad experience, and I am as prepared as I can be for that, but it does mean that making decisions out of fear doesn’t make sense.
I’ll keep exploring this as I go and have more experiences.
Tonight is my last night in Boise. Tomorrow, I’m heading north. The real work is about to start.
Love and love and love