Growing up in Wyoming, you have to drive to get just about anywhere. One side of my family lives mostly in Colorado, the other side lives mainly in Montana. Hence why my parents settled in Wyoming; among other factors, it was conveniently between both states. Since most of my early memories revolve around family holidays, I feel like I kinda grew up in the car.
I love road trips. I can sit there listening to music or just the whir of the engine. Watching the scenery change from one reality to another. Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño Ávalos once said, “Every hundred feet the world changes”, and oh how that rings true with me. Every hundred feet brings a new opportunity: a friend to make, an adventure to go on, love to find, and new truths to learn about yourself and the world.
In fact, the next time you take a road trip, I challenge you to do exactly those things:
Make a friend: Nothing makes the world go round like humans being kind to one another. If you pause your trip at a rest stop, be the person who makes small talk. Ask someone where they’re headed, and if they feel comfortable sharing why they’re headed there, then listen… really listen. Maybe you run into someone who is traveling across the country to find themselves. Maybe you run into someone in the same field as you; music, engineering, teaching, tradesmen and women, festival-goers. You can make a friend, have a new business contact, or — for just a brief moment — have someone you can relate to.
Go on an adventure: While obviously the road trip is an adventure in itself, there are always opportunities to further explore the path you take. Driving down the road, we often glazeright over those “Point of Interest” signs along the highway. But don’t! Those POIs are attractions that visitors may be interested in for great views and to learn the history of the area. Allocate an extra hour or so into your trip, and stop at the next POI you pass.
Find love: Do not ask each person you pass on a date — that’s not what I’m saying. Find love for the earth, walk on it, enjoy its flowers and trees. Drive up to a camping spot and just take in your surroundings. Or, find love for yourself. Self-love is such a rarity these days… I wish for you all to come to a place where you can be completely comfortable with who you are, and unafraid to become who you truly want to be. We should accept ourselves, but always strive to be better, to improve.
Learn something new about yourself or the world: We learn something new everyday right? Don’t take that for granted. I challenge you to strive to learn that new something every day. Not all lessons come in passing, sometimes you have to seek knowledge for it to have an impact.
Not much else can provide the chance to be reborn like getting out into the wide open. Especially where we live! Getting out on the road gives you that ‘wide open spaces’ feeling: the one that helps you get away from circumstantial influences, that gives you a chance to sort out your thoughts in air clear of motivators, so that all that’s there is you, your will, your wants. I do my best thinking in the car… What about you?
Bailey I. Knopp, Editor