Below is the”About” page for the original purpose of this blog, when it existed solely as a place to collect stories from a cross-country road trip I took in 2014. It is now a straight-up, all-purpose travel blog because I wander around on a regular enough basis both for fun and for work that I figured a full on travel blog was probably in order. I’m preserving this original “About” section here though because — wow. Sonder, you guys. Sonder. It’s just such a great… everything.
I recently came across a word I never knew I needed: Sonder.
A relatively new word, “sonder” is the brainchild of writer John Koenig, who creates words to fill in gaps where the English language is found wanting.
Per Koenig “sonder” is “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”
As a long time lover of heart-to-hearts with strangers, and a collector and sharer of stories I never expected to hear, the discovery of this word could not have come at a better time.
I’d been planning a cross-country writing trip for months, and was struggling to find a way to explain to people what I find so fulfilling about traveling and writing about the folks I meet along the way. But this word – this does it. This is it. This is the thing I’m looking for when I travel, and the thing I want most to share with others.
Because the truth is: I’m not alone on my road trips. Not really. I’m in my car by myself, sure, but every stop at every gas station, diner, motel, and museum is an opportunity to meet new people, gather new stories, and then revel in the added elbow room that comes from the world being broadened one “vivid and complex” stranger’s worth at a time.
Gathering and sharing stories — that is what this is all about.