The Greatest Gift to Give and Receive

Jeffrey here.  Joey stayed wrapped.

Today we rolled through more of Canada.  We had a long steep climb from Lake Ontario to the Escarpment, the geologic feature from which the Niagara River falls, creating . . . the Falls.  Otherwise, the terrain was largely flat and lushly beautiful.  A few small towns and some long highway strip developments (we passed many a Tim Hortons and Subway) separated new housing developments and working farms.  It was nice but not terribly photo worthy.  Here’s today’s selection: Lake Ontario from the Escarpment (the photo doesn’t do justice to the height), and a couple of signs.


For fun, and to hint at the amount of material we edit out each night, below are a few of the dozens of uncaptioned outtakes from the first week of this Ride.  Each comes with a story.  We can’t tell them all!

But first, permit me to explain, and to thank you.

Every night we walk a fine line.  Tell too much and we impose, or worse, lose our audience.  Tell too little and our readers don’t get a feel for our journey, which is the return on investment that they expect us to provide.

When we are on a Ride, life simplifies.  I need water and food.  Need it, as I rarely do at home.  I need protection from sun and rain.  Every night, I must find and reach shelter.  All these things can be acquired with money.

Time is different.

While money can free up time, it can’t create it.  Time past cannot be recovered.  The time I spend listening to and talking to new friends on the road, thinking about you and writing for you, is the very stuff of my life.  I do it for love.  Not romantic love, but love nonetheless.  Only love can explain the investment of so much time in this project.

By reading these words, by posting public responses and by phoning and writing privately to encourage and support, you too choose to spend time that never will come again.  Your gift of time means that my words are not (to coin a delicious H. L. Mencken phrase) bawled up a rainspout in the interior of Afghanistan.  Surely you do that for love . . . of something.

People along the way tell me their troubles, thrilled that an exotic traveler pauses to pay attention to them, to hear them.  I salute pedestrians young and old, people in cars at intersections, and most of the time their faces light up.  They like to be noticed, to feel for a moment that they matter in the world.  Their smiles, their waves, their sympathetic listening to how hard it is for refugees to win safety in America without a lawyer, is a gift to me – a stranger! – of their own irreplaceable time.  Their engagement enlightens, revives, refreshes, reminds me that I exist.

I thank them for their time.  And I thank you, dear reader.  For your time.  For your attention.  For expressing your support.  Without readers, I would not write and this project (never mind me) would not matter.

I hope to repay your kindness.  I hope our stories and thoughts from the road enlighten, revive, refresh, and remind you of your importance, and of your power to brighten the world, for me and for refugees and for everyone you meet.

Please accept this photo potpourri with my compliments.



7 thoughts on “The Greatest Gift to Give and Receive

  1. So happy to know you are seeing success on your journey. Your blog reminds me of Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. I look forward to reading it nightly. Take care!


  2. Always so interesting, beautifully written with lovely photos. Your tremendous efforts are very much appreciated I am sure by all. Keep it up!


  3. I always enjoy following your travels, very interesting and informative. Can you add a map so we can follow you along your route? Take care!


  4. Jeffrey, Your message of time is timeless. It costs nothing, but is invaluable. By sharing it, we gift to each other what is most precious. Your ride and writing is a gift to those you meet and those you’ve left behind.


  5. Dear Jeff,
    What an adventure you are participating in… I am delighted that you stayed with Grace and Leo!
    I feel as if I am getting to know you better through your writing…. This mode of traveling and interacting with people has got to put some “balance” into your psyche – juxtaposed with living in the Big Apple…It is such an authentic expression of who you are and what you believe in …take heart with that fact and be at peace…Later on I want to discuss the possibility of coming to visit this summer when you have a moment:):) I have a pianist to meet up with (in the city) and rehearse with for an October recital here in Richmond. AND I would love to create some more Saidel/Heller memories…. I am a bit in awe of you this morning….Take good care, Deb


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