By Lori Stultz, Outreach Coordinator
Greetings from Morgantown, West Virginia, the third-to-last state I will be leafleting in this semester!
The gradual change from warm weather to chilly fall temperatures has sparked a great deal of reflection on the college campuses I have leafleted thus far and also the fun activities that I have had the opportunity to participate in outside of leafleting and the beautiful sights I have seen. Last week, I talked about some of the delicious vegan meals I have had since leaving home. And today I wanted to share about a few of the fun weekend adventures I have embarked on while driving along the East Coast. Note that these fun weekend outings have usually been sandwiched between naps (leafleting five days a week can be quite exhausting), doing laundry (something that definitely doesn’t get done on the weekdays), and calling friends and family members back home.
First, I’ll take you back to Labor Day weekend, when I was staying in Avon, Connecticut. I spent the entire afternoon at Elizabeth Park Conservancy, walking in multiple flower, rose, and vegetable gardens and nodding off in the grass as I lay in the sunshine. I highly recommend visiting if you’re ever near Hartford and West Hartford, Connecticut. It was a wonderful experience.
The following weekend, I was staying in Medford, Massachusetts, and my hosts and I took the subway into Boston. We spent some time at the Boston Common and walked around downtown a bit. For someone who is used to much smaller parks in smaller cities and towns, it was quite a sight! My favorite part was riding the boat that was propelled by a peddler in the back.
Coming from the western part of the United States, I admit that one of the many exciting aspects of being on the East Coast has been visiting the Ivy League schools. I’ve had the privilege of leafleting at Princeton and Brown University and visiting Yale University and the Harvard University. I happened to stay in New Haven, Connecticut, for three days, so I took a guided tour of Yale. It was hands-down the most beautiful college campus I have seen thus far. The architecture was incredible, as was the greenery around campus.
And, no, I did not steal this photo from a Yale catalogue—I actually took that picture!
Fast-forward about one month, and I found myself on the Appalachian Trail! I was staying in New Mildford, Connecticut, about a 15 minutes car ride from Bull’s Bridge in Kent, Connecticut. Bull’s Bridge is a hiking destination, one that includes a section of the Appalachian Trail and several river walks along the Housatonic River. It was absolutely breathtaking.
If I lived near Kent, I don’t think I’d ever leave Bull’s Bridge. It was so nice to get away from the crowded cities and spend an afternoon among the trees. There is something very healing about being in nature.
And last weekend was perhaps one of the most emotional weekends I have had since leaving home. I spent the day at Indraloka Animal Sanctuary near Mehoopany, Pennsylvania. I got to hang out with chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, cows, pigs, goats, donkeys, horses, sheep, and many other animals who reside on the farm. My host, Sarah, volunteers at the sanctuary every weekend—cleaning, feeding, watering, and doing a whole list of other tasks that are required to maintain a sanctuary. For anyone who has ever spent time on an animal farm, it is no secret how quickly one can become attached to these beautiful beings. It’s the eye contact, the way these animals speak with their eyes. It’s amazing. It was a deeply emotional reminder as to why I am going out of my comfort zone day in and day out to help raise awareness about the horrible atrocities that the animal agriculture industry commits against farmed animals. I mean, come on—look at these faces!
If I’ve said it once, I have said it a million times: I love my job. These fun weekend adventures are an added bonus to what I get to do the other five days of the week. I can only imagine what the rest of my time on the road is going to bring!