After driving over 7,000 miles alone this summer, painting many murals, sleeping under the stars, next to beautiful lakes, amazing mountains, laughing, crying, trying desperately to fall back in love with a country that I somehow cannot seem to understand anymore, I'm finally back in my home city, happy to be here, ready for whatever is next. There were tremendously kind strangers on this trip, and as a female who drove alone, camped alone, and was generally very much alone for long periods of time, people were curious, generous and often went out of their way to make sure I was safe. I found this surprising, I guess, mostly because the state of our nation does not often behave with such openness. I gave strangers hugs, listened to people open up about the most vulnerable parts of their lives, watched rolling, endless skies and landscape that seemed to change every few miles. Living in a bubble inside of a bubble, I had somehow forgotten how powerful it was to put myself in the middle of many places were exposure to other kinds of thinking was considered radical…places where talking to a stranger seemed like a fearless geture. I was reminded that we must always put ourselves out there, take the responsibility, and lead by example. So don't be afraid to explore this country and say what needs to be said. Be gentle, be honest. We can change this if we speak up, rearrange our priorities and stop sitting on the sidelines. Don't let the bad stuff swallow you. This could really be our last chance.