Amori and her daughter Heather have been traveling across the country together for more than five years. For the most part, their nerves seemed intact. They are American vagabonds in every sense of the word, boarding Greyhound buses with a few bags and one-way tickets to whatever city they’ve decide to call home for the time being. They arrive in small towns; work in restaurants to pay for food and cheap motels. And, when boredom sets in, or when the spirit moves them, Amori and Heather pack their bags and buy a one-way ticket to their next home.
Amori was only 14 when she had Heather. When Heather was five, Amori left her in the care of family and bought her first of many one-way Greyhound tickets to someplace in America. “I loved life knowing that I could do whatever I wanted to do when I woke up each morning,” she said. When Heather turned 13, she joined her mom on the road. Mom claimed that she home schooled Heather while they traveled. I’m thinking not.
Mother and daughter will tell you that they love this life-untethered, no personal attachments, minimal responsibility. If is, after all, quintessentially American, this fantasy of independence and freedom from the status quo. But their eyes tell a different story. They seem sad, road weary, perhaps hungry for whatever it is we call normal. I’ve only been on this bus for two weeks and I’m road weary, hungry for whatever it is I call normal (can life with three, small, constantly barking, un-housebroken dogs be normal??)
Their most recent one-way ticket drops them in Casper, Wyoming. Heather, 18, is pregnant and due to deliver in November. The baby’s father is somewhere. “Maybe Oklahoma,” says Heather, with a shrug. Amori, Heather and the baby will live with Heather’s father. For a while. But not too long. “We'll be back on the bus soon,” Amori says. “I want to teach my grandchild what it’s like to live on the road.”
Just living the American dream!