Lenny the Traveler
Meet Lenny- I met him on the corner of Congress Ave and 9th Street. He does not consider himself homeless because he is a traveler. He has been through a lot of trial throughout his life but he finds peace resting in the engine of a train.
Me: How long have you been on the streets?
Lenny: For about 25 years
Me: Where are you from?
Lenny: College Station in Texas
Me: Have you been able to get an housing?
Lenny: I went to jail for a time and then went on parole. I fell in love with a woman from Venezuela who I haven't seen in five years- she still my wife but I haven't seen her. She was taking care of her mom who was dying of cancer and I went out to build a life.
Me: When was the last time you talked to your wife?
Lenny: About six months ago.
Me: So how do you get your food?
Lenny: I am traveler, not a home bum. Home bums just stay on the streets, they are never gonna anywhere, they are just going to rot on the streets, they are never going anywhere or see anything or go across America. So being a traveler is a little different-
Me: How far have you gone?
Lenny: I have been to Mexico a few times. I have been coast to coast- 4 years ago they said I couldn't walk- since then I have been coast to coast 3 times. 5 years ago they said I couldn't talk- I can talk. With the help of the Red Bull commercial. Most travelers like to be in the cars of trains, I like to be in the engines.
Me: What is it like to be in the engine?
Lenny: Oh its amazing.
Me: When in life do you feel so free?
Lenny: See that is bad thing about traveling, once you get it in your blood, it is there. People ask me about hopping trains. I tell them it is a lot like slinging dope, once you do it once, it is hard to turn back. Once you run along that train and grab that ladder, there is no turning back.
Lenny started to talk to me about the time he went into a coma.
Me: What was it like when you woke up from your coma?
Lenny: It was hard at 40 years old they said I would not be able to walk- how? It is what I have always done. I am almost about to cry just thinking about it. I told them I wanted to walk and believe it or not, that Red Bull commercial inspired me.
Me: Tell me about that Red Bull commercial?
Lenny: They are shooting down the hill in the flight suits and the one that the guy is taken to the edge of space and jumps out. If anyone actually looks at it, that daredevil changed aerospace forever. He showed that we can dive into pretty much any planet we want as long as we keep our head together. ... I am afraid of heights but I want to use one of those flight suits- I don't want to base jump- I want to fly in the air like Superman hahaha. So that is why I got up, so I can skydive.
Me: What are your dreams
Lenny: I just want to make my next 20 years a lot easier than my first 40 years. Don't get me wrong, living on the streets at 23 is pie. At 40- the walk is a little longer and the pack is a little heavier.
There are many people who have amazing stories and can truly inspire you. Take the time to listen. Engage. Ask questions. This is time to #EngagetheCommunity! Who will you talk to next? I would love to hear your response on social media below!