This will hopefully not be my final post about traveling, I am working on moving to Ireland in January for a year, so I will likely be doing a lot more of this. However, it is my final post for my class.
That being said, I have to answer some questions.
- Which destination was my favorite and why?
Randyland. No question.
It felt like home. The only other time I felt this accepted was at school.
Even there I’ve faced a lot of people hating me for being gay, but I had people willing to protect me and fight alongside me.
Randyland was so warm and welcoming, I genuinely could’ve stayed there forever.
2. What about this destination is distinctly “Pittsburgh” to me?
I am not from Pittsburgh. Before I graduated high school I had only been there once and I was about 10 years old. The most I remember was a pretty park and nice bridges.
In the last four years I’ve been to Pittsburgh a lot more, but I still hadn’t seen very much of it. I went to a friend’s apartment or the Carnegie Museum of Science, but I always stuck close to my friends and didn’t allow for very much exploration.
This semester I fell in love with the city. The first trip to the strip district, even with dead fish, had me hooked. (Pun intended.)
The city is more than just Oakland. It’s Squirrel Hill, Mount Washington, Shadyside, and East Liberty. It is home to millions of unique individuals who are beautiful, capable, wonderful people. Everyone in the city faces hardships and trials. But there is such a pride there. People say “I’m from Pittsburgh.” but they are actually a part of the city itself.
Randyland is just one aspect of the city, but its true acceptance of everyone is a staple of Pittsburgh. The entire city is built on love.
3. How have these travels changed me?
This semester was the hardest one I have ever gone through. I moved apartments, wrote a book, performed in a musical, fell in love with a girl and a city, graduated from college, and struggled like hell to stay afloat.
I have to say that signing up for a Saturday class, I expected it to be easy. I thought I could just relax and enjoy the trips, write something about it, and be done with it. I didn’t even need the class to graduate, I just thought it would be fun.
I was right about it being fun, but not about it being easy. I’m exhausted. I took on more than I was ready for this semester, and I paid the price in sleep. (I’ve been home for almost 36 hours and I’ve slept for 20 of them.)
This class was one of my favorites, but I let myself slack off on it. I put things off, only writing a bit of a draft before I told myself something else was more important and needed to get done.
But the truth is that this class did change me. Traveling and looking at places as a writer changed me.
I hope I am a better writer for it. I hope I am a better person for it.
Experiencing these places made me feel like I was home and gave me the hope that someday I will move to Pittsburgh and be a part of the city.
All I can say is thank you.