My boyfriend Jordan is not a huge fan of travel, in fact on the rare occasions when we travel together he can’t wait to get back to the comforts of home. A cozy bed, great water pressure, the creature comforts of your own living environment- of course I miss those things too when I am out on the road, but for me the thrill of new discoveries and unique experiences are worth the inconveniences I have to deal with that take me out of my comfort zone. Whether it’s seeing in person just what I envisioned or something that totally blows me away because it’s not what I expected at all, or best yet, the emotional response that takes me by complete surprise- I admit I am totally addicted to discovering what’s out there, on the road in places I haven’t been. It’s a high I just can’t get enough of.
There are few things that get my heart pounding and mind racing like the excitement of planning my next road trip. To be totally honest, I never knew I was such an adventure seeker until I planned my first road trip with my kids 10 years ago. Something about driving in our car and seeing different landscapes, tasting different foods, experiencing different cultures resonated with me in a way that felt like I had found the secret to living life to it’s fullest. Time has a way of passing by so by ever so quickly when you look it in the broader sense, and that’s why I feel compelled to squeeze the most out of it by racking up memories and accomplishments with every trip I take.
Something truly magical happens when I put the key in the ignition and set off on an unfamiliar road. I feel a tingle up my spine as I wonder what we’ll find around the corner. Sometimes the reality is just what I expect but fun to see the images come to life like folks in Texas with their cowboy hats and boots going about their daily business. Other times I am blown away by things that take me totally by surprise such as finding beauty where we least expect it like Boystown in Omaha, Nebraska or the barren frozen north of Barrow, Alaska.
What really has got me totally addicted though is the emotional connection that happens unexpectedly. I was completely unprepared for how choked up I got at President Lincoln’s tomb standing in awe before one of the greatest men in our nation’s history. I will also never forget my reaction to seeing one of the guns used to massacre the Sioux at Wounded Knee at The National Buffalo Museum in North Dakota. It was as if the energy of that moment, the screams, the panic and devastation of that horrific event touched me as I passed it and I was so deeply saddened and moved that I had to leave the room. It’s those moments that make me realize that when I travel on my road trips I feel alive in a way that I just don’t at home going about my daily routine.
Life surely is a journey in and of itself. For me that journey would be infinitely be less exciting without time spent at least once a year discovering somewhere I haven’t been-embarking on an adventure that reinforces what I know, surprises me with what I don’t, and taps my emotions deep within. For me, road trip travel fulfills that yen to live life more fully, to see colors just a bit brighter, and to savor time spent doing what I love-especially with those who mean the most to me.