All journeys begin with goodbyes. At one time or another we have all bidden adieu to friends and loved ones before turning our noses towards an unfamiliar place. When preparing for extended periods away, we might even make it a point to identify those deserving a special farewell. For me, a group of individuals I hold very dear comes to mind: my expectations.
Before each of my long tours, most of which take me through places I’ve never been, I take a quiet moment to examine the biases, tropes, and simplifications floating around in my mind regarding the region I am about to traverse and the people who live there. I have made an implicit promise to you, my future readers, to do my absolute best in presenting an accurate depiction of this country we share. It is a duty I take seriously. So, scattered throughout this post are a few of the images that come to my mind when I think of America’s Prairie Heartland. My prejudices have been laid bare for your judgment.