I am a huge Bob Dylan fan. Huge. Which is why I am writing this from his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. The family and I just did a walk by his boyhood home, albeit very discreetly. I didn’t want to be one of those tourists that stalk old haunting grounds of famous people. So I begged Noel to put the camera away so we could just blend in. But I have to admit, I am one of those people. I got a thrill being on the steps where MLK gave his I Have a Dream Speech then felt an incredible sadness standing at the ledge where he was shot down. I felt a similar feeling walking Dylan’s hometown.
Bob considered himself a gypsy of sorts and concocted and crazy stories of his childhood. But Dylan’s boyhood was both normal and stable and deeply entrenched in this area. So the idea that he roamed these streets, slept in that house and developed his history here makes me feel connected somehow. While travelling, the idea of home and place is more vivid for me. As we move further from home and all things familiar it puts you into a sort of out of self-place. All the things that help to define you are gone, and your free to be something new. So meeting people, hearing their stories, sharing your own is one of my favorite things. Finding out how folks end up where they do is very intoxicating so when we meet people, the first question is “Where are you from?”, which always begins a conversation of history, or the reason they got where they are. Usually the answer is for love, but there were other crazy stories of adventure. We have met and heard many stories along this trip, and usually the farther we get the more I realize how similar we all are. One reason why I love Dylan is that his songs are steeped with tales about all kinds of folks. At first glance the words might seem disjointed and out of place, but if you take a deeper look they become a rich tapestry. Same is true for our own stories because as different from each other as they might initially appear, there is still ultimately at least one connecting thread. So, very soon we will be back in our home. With our people. Continuing our story. Although it’s always fun to step outside of oneself, my second favorite thing about the journey is coming back home.