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The Neon Pagan

Ahhhhh. Summertime. Time to make those vacation travel plans!
Well, ideally, yes. In reality, I haven’t got a brass farthing for travel. I’m a public school teacher with a daughter in college. Looks like my vacation will consist of sitting in the back yard, observing closely as the little yellow flowers on my tomato plants wither and turn into shiny green bumps. Maybe I’ll make a game of it. Assign each budding tomato a name and a personality. Oh, but then they’ll be hard to eat! Who says staycations are easy?
If I had some computer savvy and some clout in the Pagan community, it wouldn’t have to be this way. Let me explain.
The Mennonite community is fairly close-knit and, like Pagans, doesn’t go out of the way to solicit new members. These people offer each other some support systems that are pretty amazing. One of them has to do with vacations.
Mennonites have a thing called “Mennonite Your Way.” It’s not exactly a secret, but it’s not publicized widely either. For a small membership fee, and an even smaller boarding fee, Mennonites can travel wherever there are other Mennonites and stay with them overnight.
A Mennonite friend of mine charges ten dollars for her spare room and averages two or three visits a month. She lives in North Philadelphia, which is of course convenient to Philly and to New York City. (The Big Apple also has “Mennonite Your Way.”) If she has to pick up her guest at the airport, she charges for gas.
You know the rest. When my friend travels, she gets to stay with other Mennonite families for the same affordable fee. While there aren’t Mennonites everywhere, they are surprisingly widespread. Not all of them came to America, so if you want to go to Germany on a dime, and you’re a Mennonite, you basically have air fare and a train ticket.
Wouldn’t it be swell to have “Pagan Your Way?” Same method, same guiding principle. Voila! Affordable travel!
There are many Pagan paths, not all of them compatible. But you would be surprised how many sects of Mennonites there are, and how badly some of them quarrel. It’s just human nature. By and large, though, most Mennonites get along. Most Pagans do too.
“Mennonite Your Way” is mostly done on the Internet now. A web master coordinates the membership, for which he or she collects the annual membership fee. It’s then up to the members themselves to research the site and find boarding situations that suit their itineraries.
If I knew the first thing about web sites, I’d jump on this. If you are reading this column and you do know a thing or two, here’s an opportunity you may want to pursue.
It’s a nice thought, isn’t it? You want to go somewhere, you don’t have much dough, but you can stay with a fellow Pagan – probably have a nice chat, make a friend maybe – and then open your own chateau to other traveling Pagans. You can always say no if it’s inconvenient, but hey. We’re a small, interesting community. We could do this. Sure, there’s a certain amount of trust involved. But once again, we are somewhat like Mennonites in our relative insularity and our methods of communication.
I can’t coordinate this, but I sure would buy in if someone else did. And who knows? With a new teacher evaluation system in place for next year, I could need a job. “Pagan Your Way?” I would love it.