En-route sentiment is found in transient spaces—not always bounded by physical markers, but exists through endless convergence of trajectories; between people, ideas, and aspirations.
How can you trust those around you while in transit? Who is staying long enough for you to build networks of community? Is saying hello more painful than saying goodbye, being fully aware that those you meet along the journey will merely depart ways sooner or later?
En-route sentiment is an emotional state of being—felt when one departs from familial ties and the truth of profound kinship developed within one’s home and begins navigating amongst transitory strangers and spaces, whom one continuously meets and departs from.
In the case of the Central American migrant caravans that began in the 1980s, those who choose to leave their respective countries due to a mix of violence, poverty, and endemic corruption have found themselves in transit lives, challenged with a world of transitory unknowns.
Truth becomes transitory in the Central American migrant journey—shifting between who to depend on and having to find guidance from someone else. There is no space nor time to let doubt creep in. The momentum needed to be kept; The days rolled into long cold nights; The steady process must resume the next day. Crossing through Mexico was precarious, regardless if whether you were accompanied by a “Coyote”, an experienced immigrant smuggler and guide, or in a mass group, such as the caravan. In the case of my mother and I, we sought amongst the women and children in the traveling group for emotional comfort and safety as we walked together. Mexico became a transitory space that unfortunately, in certain areas, was an unsafe passage point with risks of discrimination, deportation, and Mexican security forces.
The Central American migrants’ story is an example of transient bodies interacting with transitional spaces on their journey to find a fractional glimpse of stability and permanence. The trek presented ever changing environments, through jungles, deserts, rivers, and flatlands, and yet in all realms we entered, there was a fixed collective lesson learned; do not fear the ambiguity of life and the surroundings of the path ahead but the misleading intentions of the people in your presence.
In a paradoxical coupling of emotions, there was a generalized sense of desperation and hope as the days blurred into one another and we carried the weight of tired feet and minds. There was no clear indication that there would be an end, just a beginning. The migrant caravan journey is simultaneously individual and collective, cloaked with a sense of wonder and ambition that guided every single step. With resistance and perseverance, and a bit of luck, those who attained to step on US soil then felt the internalized immigrant pressure and guilt to continue onward, living off the transitory journey in a foreign land that countless others could not witness.
While each person carried their personal reasons for embarking on the migration journey, the ability to create transitory kinship proved to be incredibly beneficial both during and after the journey. What was collectively understood during those days of travel was to need to develop a transient community, one that allows for cooperation and sharing of resources between members.
En-route sentiment is a shared identity through ephemeral solidarity—which is experienced as we navigate through our own lives and encounter people in transitory spaces, such as Rudolph Hall. We’ve all come to create a transitory community within the enclosed concrete walls, and as such, we’ve developed a collective identity—finding family amongst friends and sharing more than just resources, but also memories and growth along our journey.