If you ever took an English class in which you read The Canterbury Tales or The Decameron or One Thousand and One Nights or even if you watched Forrest Gump, your instructor might have told you about frame narratives. In case you’ve forgotten, frame narratives are essentially stories that allow many different stories to be told within them.
That’s sort of how I’ve been thinking about the Juan Way Tour. Sure, it’s got the makings of a simple road-trip story. But it seems so much bigger than that. It’s a group of people, friends mostly, who are spending their summer break driving for thousands of miles. That’s huge! There’s going to be so much more to this trip than the catalog of sights we saw, than the final score on the odometer.
Maybe I’ll finally learn how to play guitar during all that down time we’ll have on the highway. That’s a story. Maybe I’ll learn how to speak Arabic from Ali. That’s a story. There’s been excited speculation among the Tour members that we should capture everything in a documentary or a novel. Each of those is it’s own story. I recently remembered an idea that I had back in high school. I want to construct a one of those big, glossy coffee table books. “Sandwiches of America” I’d call it, and it’d be filled with delicious recipes and big colorful photographs of the best sandwiches in the country. Who knows, maybe I’ll start the research for that this summer. That’d be a story.
There’s also the personal stories of everyone aboard this madcap adventure. What sort of personal growth will come about as a result? Maybe knowing how to drive a bus will come in handy at some critical juncture in one of our lives. I doubt it, but not many people can drive a bus, and learning how to do so certainly sounds like a story. And what about the stories of everyone we’ll be interacting with, both during our pit-stops and online? How will this story interweave with the stories of those who read about us?
This trip is going to be huge. It has almost unlimited potential, and I hope I’m able to make the absolute most of it. The places we visit will be amazing, yes. But this is more than a vacation. It will be the things that fill our days that, when all is said and done, we won’t have enough time in the world to share.
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