It’s a complicated question, this, because it’s different every time. For example, I know where I’ll be next February 4th, but Wednesday morning I didn’t know where I would spend that night. Sometimes people contact me so far in advance that I build my schedule around them. Other times I go to meet a teacher and find myself in his classroom all afternoon. Sometimes I plan all year to go see an old friend. Other times snow blocks my path to Chicago and I end up heading to see a classmate in Peoria. I keep my Google calendar and a map of upcoming travels open in Firefox all the time for “planning” purposes, but a lot of it’s about flexibility.
I mostly plan around invitations I’ve received and then fill in the gaps with what makes geographical sense. So how do people find me to invite me in the first place?
1. My blog
I don’t actually much like writing. You might have picked up on that from the fact that I do it so rarely. But I enjoy having written, so I do it anyway. And then people read it and like it and share it and their friends start poking around on here and see that I’m a hobo and contact me to set something up. So it all works out!
These days it feels as though Facebook has almost as much to do with the direction of my life as the Holy Spirit. I’ve got a gap of a few days, so I post the time period and the approximate location on Facebook and within 3 hours I’ve got a place to stay and work to do. Or I’m worried about the snow I’m driving into and post my location so I’ve got someplace to sleep if the weather gets too bad. If you don’t mind reading about all my travel plans (and woes) on your news feed, follow me on Facebook. Who knows–maybe I’ll be passing through your town and we’ll get to hang out!
Last night, I spoke to a group of grad students because a friend of a friend of a friend knew someone who was involved. I stayed with women who knew the woman who knew the woman who knew the woman who knew my friend. Of course, many of the links in that chain are my real friends now, but it all happens because somebody tells somebody. That’s how I’m going to Europe in the fall (do you live in Europe? I want to come to you!!) and how I may finally make it to Alaska this summer–people who know people.
4. Straight up Providence
It’s all Providence, of course, but sometimes it’s more obvious: the guy who comes to check on me because I pulled over in front of his house to make a phone call–and then ends up praying over me in the middle of the street; the priest who introduces himself and then offers me a house to stay in and a youth group to speak at; the lady next to me on the plane who says I’ve always got a home with her; the broken-down car resulting in a plane ticket donated by a stranger. The crazy stories that keep reminding me that it’s not about me.
In the end, I don’t have to plan or worry or figure anything out. I serve a mighty God who’s been planning my hoboing since before there was time. After so many years of running my own life (and doing a rather miserable job), it’s a relief to acknowledge the he was always in charge. How does this work? Grace. Providence. And mercy working on a broken heart learning every day to trust. Thanks for all your prayers and support, friends–I couldn’t do this without the Holy Spirit working through you.