Day 1 – Wednesday January 23, 2013

US Airways from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Charlotte, NC

I don’t know what it is, but every time I am about to take vacation from work, the days leading up to my vacation are usually pretty stressful.  Last time, I had to make an hour drive to work to only stay for 15 minutes, a wedding to go to, and a bunch other little things.  No time to pack before a week-long trip.
This time?  Crazy hectic, but in a different way.   I’ve been having to pull overtime both at my day job and my volunteer job the past few days.  And so, getting home at 11:30PM last night without having packed for a 6:30AM meeting time at the airport having only a few hours of sleep was definitely a challenge.  But I like challenges >:-].  And surprisingly, I’m not doing that bad in terms of tiredness! 
I guess I’m just so excited!
Actually, everyone I’m with is pretty excited.  You can’t tell that we had to meet up really early this morning!
We’re leaving today to go on a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to see the sights, to pray, to have fun, to hang out, and …our primary purpose is to participate in the March for Life this Friday.  Looking at our itinerary, it looks like this will be a pretty prayerful and moving experience.  So yeah, it’ll be a spiritual journey as we make a stand for life.
I beg the questions: do people care enough about the pro-life movement to gather together and gain a sense of common cause and purpose in the fight for human dignity, starting in the womb?  Are a lot of people passionate about this?  Is this worthy of our time? If 60,000 young adult Christians can gather together to make a stand against human slavery and trafficking, who will and how many will show up to make a stand against ending lives in the womb?
Last year, I really wanted to blog about how the March for Life in Washington D.C. didn’t even get any main media coverage despite hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.  I think only a local newspaper mentioned something about how “pro-lifers caused traffic on streets of DC.”  This year, I hope to capture the sights and events through blog and pictures during our trip.  And I’m armed with my laptop, camera, and iPhone.  Challenge accepted.

1:40AM (Thurs)
Somewhere In Virginia at Host Family Home

The original plan was for us to stay at a Knights of Columbus hall, but that fell through a few weeks ago, so we are blessed and fortunate enough to have some host families willing to let us stay in their homes.  One of the perks of being a chaperone is that sometimes you get an actual bed and/or room, and I definitely have those things.  But, in keeping with the pilgrimage spirit of this trip, I will forego the bed and use my sleeping bag on the floor.
I guess I’ve been more occupied with thinking about traveling to the East Coast without really thinking too much about what I’m going to be doing here.  I mean, our itinerary the next few days is going to be pretty action-packed but it hasn’t hit me of all the things that we’re going to be doing.
Some stories since last blog update.

Our leader had to stay with one of group members because they lacked proper identification at the airport and thus had to wait for parents to take care of that.  In the process of that delay, our leader was reassigned flights and seats.  And on one of his flights today, a priest happenchance’d to sit right next to our leader.  Undoubtedly, one does not simply sit next to a Catholic priest on a flight and not talk about Catholic things.

What’s really cool about being a traveling Catholic is that it is totally legit and cool to ask a priest for Confession, even at an airport.  The priest was totally willing to give that Sacrament despite the awkward circumstance (because this is normally done in a confessional).  The other really cool story was that our leader totally met Abby Johnson at the airport.  She’s a very powerful voice in the pro-life movement since she was a former director of a Planned Parenthood who had a conversion after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion.  Now, she’s jumpstarted a new outreach program, And Then There Were None, for abortion clinic workers who want to get out of the abortion industry.  And oh, she’s a Fightin’ Texas Aggie.  And now Catholic. WHOOP! AMEN!

Baby djembe and ukulele — tools of epic music
Rewinding a bit, our group arrived at a local Catholic church to gather ourselves and unwind, eat dinner, and hang out.  We spent the evening playing get-to-know-you games, going over rules and procedures, eating a scrumptious lasagna and salad dinner, and then spent time in prayer and worship…and of course, rules and logistics.

This has been an exhausting day, and it’s probably a really dumb decision for me to be blogging at this hour, especially since I have to be up in a few hours.  But, hey!  I’m willing to sacrifice my comforts.  After all, this is a pilgrimage.
Tomorrow will be an exciting day visiting a monastery and attending the March For Life Vigil Mass.  Word on the pew is that both are pretty epic.