Kendra; Las Vegas, NV

15 is far too young to be thrown into the world expected to be an adult. After meeting Kendra, I was astonished on the findings I found within myself throughout our conversation. When I was 15 years old, I struggled with self-love, worried about what the cute boy next to me in algebra thought of me.When Kendra was 15, she was worried about whether she was going to make it or ever be loved again.Kendra originally lived with her mother in Santa Clarita, California. When she was 15, Kendra and her mother got into a huge argument which resulted in Kendra’s mother pressing charges and kicking Kendra out. Kendra was placed into foster care was she was 15 years old, feeling as though the whole world was against her and didn’t want her to succeed. When she was 18 years old, she was pushed out of foster-care expected to be prepared for life. She had an aunt who lived on the streets and taught her the ways of street-life. Kendra’s aunt introduced her to a young man who had been a part of her street family and Kendra instantly fell in love with him. Kendra is now a free-spirited, kind, and beautiful 20-year-old girl living on the streets. She is currently hitchhiking her way a crossed America for the second time with her soon-to-be husband.

With modern-day news stories becoming more and more cruel, hitchhiking seems like a thing of the past. Kendra showed me that with hitchhiking, you have to believe in good people. While traveling the roads of America, Kendra has met some of the most influential and interesting individuals. But the part I was most intrigued by was how she spoke of falling in love with each city they came upon. In the modern day world, very few people get the opportunity to simply explore due to the fact that they feel the need to grow up. Instead of spending life exploring every inch of America, we choose to go to college, get a good-paying job, and start a family. The American dream of yesterday seems to be taking over the explorations of tomorrow, Kendra opened my eyes to a new horizon. What if there is more to life than making money and settling down? The life of adventure that you read about in storybooks could become your life if we just gave up the American Dream.

Of course, in reality, the discussion of safety always has to come into play. As a woman in the modern day world, it can be especially dangerous to simply jump in a car heading the same way as you. When I asked Kendra about this, she has nothing but faith in people but always travels with her fiancé to ensure safety. She spoke of how the world is scared of trusting strangers and if we were all a little more trusting of one another hitchhiking wouldn’t seem like such a crazy idea. I admire her faith in humanity and how she takes every day by storm. Kendra’s hitchhiking days are coming to a close in a final trip across the USA. These lovebirds have decided to start their lives in the up-and-coming city of Clarksville, Tennessee. Her excitement was contagious as she spoke of finally having a place to call home. They already have family and friends in the area and plan to find work in the new year. I hope for nothing but safe travels for Kendra and her fiancé on their final voyage across the USA. I hope they know how much they’ve inspired me to explore life through a different lens and maybe reconsider the American Dream.

Thanks For Reading,