California. Photo by Jesse Maskell.

We crossed the border this morning. No-one there to check our licence, registration. Six hundred miles. Sorry. Six hundred stories.

We’ve been driving awhile. Eight years, somehow. People come and go.  Quite a few stay for a story and we never see them again. Maybe they’ve only got one narrative in them. Maybe they’re on their way to someplace else. That’s okay.

Some stay for a few miles, a handful of honest-to-the-bone revelations. Or light yarns. Long enough to appreciate the drive for a little while before seeming to say to no-one in particular, “That’s far enough, I’ll get off at the crossroads here thanks.” That’s okay too. Everyone’s got lives. Don’t forget your backpack.

Some are in for the long haul. Smokie, Rijn, Damian, Louise, Lucia, Luke, Martina, Andy, Rick, Nick, David, Zoe, Stephen…more. Plenty more. Good company as the lines disappear under the chassis.

Some seem to come from nowhere, from beyond the waters. From the skies. Lord knows how they find us. Maybe we were on the side of the road, rain falling on our shoes. Checking under the bonnet. Maria from New Zealand, way back at the start, when the engine first kicked over. Bill from Canada. Jim from Minneapolis. Cher (no, not that Cher) from Las Vegas. Nate from California. Niles from Memphis. Madeleine from New Jersey.

They get onboard and all of a sudden the car’s bigger, the windscreen’s wider, the road’s still worth it.

When we need to re-fill we steer clear of those huge freeway service-station-fast-food metropolises. You know the ones. All asphalt  and plastic and glare and neon. Bright and busy and bigger than the little towns that they bypass. There might be more stories there, more readers too, but we keep taking the backroads. Maybe that’s a stubborn mistake. Foolishness borne of ignorance. Or vice-versa. Marketing, you say? Branding?  Search engines? Hash-tags? Grants? Crowd-funding? (We got coffee cups, at least!)

But we haven’t run out of gas. Not yet. And there’s these things called concerts that we do with the band, but that’s another story.

We crossed the border this morning.

600 stories

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The 500 stories reflection

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Vin is founding editor of Stereo Stories and director/MC of Stereo Stories In Concert.