The journey begins in Nashville

I've always planned to travel in retirement, but since the last election, the desire to hit the American road has taken on a new urgency. I want to find out what the hell is going on in my country. Are we as divided as polls and election returns say? Is there a common ground we can rediscover?
I want to help answer these questions, in dispatches from every corner of America, reporting from the real places we too often reduce to primary colors on an election map. I’d like to do more listening than arguing, to write less about what’s happening in Washington and more about what’s happening in America, to seek out the ties that bind us together as well as those that pull us apart.
My reports will appear as weekly columns in GateHouse newspapers across the country (including my longtime employer, the MetroWest Daily News), and in more frequent updates here on Facebook and on a new website I hope to have ready for primetime soon.
Our first stop is Nashville, where we were greeted this morning by sirens announcing a tornado watch. Ellen, my wife and traveling companion, finds that worrisome, as we'll soon take a travel trailer into parts unknown. I see it as welcome sign of the adventures ahead.
The road ahead takes us to Alabama, New Orleans, Mississippi and Memphis. Like this page and watch this spot for news, photos, and whatever clarity we find along the road.