"Hi," He said, and then took a chair. "I gather you are both traveling ...?"
"Oh, Yes", the one named Andrea replied. "We're on our Long Walk...You know, where we carry everything with us, walk places, camp out, stay at tribe settlements for a while..."
"We've been out about six months now," the other girl, Hannah, added. "We're off to Hooksands Preserve to swim and do nothing for a few days, then to the Shores Tribe where we'll be staying for a while. They raise shellfish on Sandy Bay and we heard they're really cool."
|After completing public school, many teenagers take The Long Walk...|
"Wow," Alan said, "Six months is a long time! I'm on a walk myself, but only for a couple of weeks, I think."
"Oh, we're just starting out! We hope to stay on the paths for two years - if we can get on together that long," and they gave each other a look that could have meant anything.
"So what'll you do at this Shores Tribe?" Alan asked.
"Uh, dunno yet. Work in their cannery, tend the gardens, babysit," Harriet shrugged.
"They make the most delicious smoked oysters...very pricey in the shops!" Andrea added.
Just then a very young waiter approached the table, and both girls said to Alan, "Get the sausage omelet!" So Alan said,"Okay", and to the waiter, "Please add a bowl of oatmeal and coffee with cream."
"So," Alan said after the waiter left, "you're going to wander around for two years...?"
"Yeah, but with a purpose. Didn't you do it?"
"Uh, no. I'm from the States and no one does that there - except a few loners or traveling hobos. The closest thing I guess, would be a long hike in a National Park, but not like you are describing. It would be a dangerous undertaking for young people there, especially just out walking. Everyone drives!"
"Huh! That is so sad, said Andrea. "I don't know how I would have gotten through public school if we didn't have The Walk to look forward to...it's all anyone talks about during our last year."
"And we meet boys, too." Andrea added with a grin.
"Aah," said Alan.