I’m indoorsy. I always have been. The closest I’ve come to camping in the last year is roasting some marshmallows… on my stovetop. Whether it’s the humid heat that makes your clothes stick to your back, or a stinging frost that takes your breath away, I think suffering through extreme weather conditions is for the birds. Add crawling creatures, biting insects and foul smells to the list, and you’ll grasp my general relationship with the “great outdoors”.
Perhaps that’s why the thought of Aly Schreck backpacking through southern Arizona and Mexico might look a lot like Aly Schreck when her mom made her go on the annual family vacation to Adventurland: not happy.
But in less than a week, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.
Why would I do this to myself? Why make this journey? Why did I agree to sit in a university van for over 20 hours to make the trek from Omaha, Nebraska to Nogales, Arizona and then across the border into Mexico?
I guess to put it simply; I’m going to listen, to learn and to respond. But maybe most importantly, I’m going to relate.
It’s no secret that immigration issues and policy have been a hot topic in national discussion in recent years. The word itself carries with it so many political, religious and negative implications. Through watching and reading the news coverage, I’ve gained a basic understanding of the issue at hand, however, I am still unsatisfied with where I stand.
In working with the Kino Border Initiative, and through interviewing those affected by immigration first-hand on this Creighton Backpack Journalism trip, I hope to discover so much more about the topic.
I’ll begin by listening. In hearing the raw stories, perspectives and concerns of those impacted by immigration, I want to learn about the key problems and possible solutions, and therefore see what I, as an American student, can do to respond. What is my role in this complex picture?
Throughout the every step of this process, I want work to relate to those I am interacting with. What would I do if I were in their shoes? I want to quit unconsciously thinking of this as an issue between us (the United States), and them, (the migrants). Rather I want to discover how to make this a conversation “we” can discuss together.
As one of my favorite journalists, Walter Cronkite, said, “In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story,” and on through this experience I hope to do just that.
Whether or not I will gain all of these specific insights during this journey is uncertain. However, I am absolutely positive that in leaving the comfort of the indoors, I will discover a part of myself in a foreign place.
So join me, along with my new friends and first-ever pair of hiking shoes, on the 2016 Creighton Backpack Journalism adventure!