Happy 2018! I hope you have begun the new year with a sense of hope and excitement for what is to come.
I can’t help but reflect on the ways that traveling to new places really has transformed me more than anything else in life. Being somewhere unfamiliar leaves me to depend on and know myself more deeply, and to step into the person that I am always aching to be. Someone who feels a real sense of possibility and wonder at every turn, even within the day-to-day.
The truest example I can think of for this was a solo cross-country road trip I did last winter.
Planning a Road Trip
Many reasons motivated the road trip. An ending relationship, a job I was no longer enjoying. These things were happening on the West Coast, and I was ready to go back to my parents’ home on the East Coast. I originally was planning to fly home, but something in me had an honest need for adventure.
Above are some of my reflections immediately upon returning from the road.
Starting out, the largest hang-up was that I didn’t own a car. But it’s funny how when you really want something, you make it happen! I ended up buying a small sedan in Phoenix, Arizona, and setting off on my way.
This road trip would breathe freedom into my life, and allow me to once more feel in-control of my own destiny.
Even just planning the trip was thrilling, and made me excited to get out of bed again. And then even that paled compared to when I was actually on the road.
I had a rough idea of what states I wanted to be in when.
I drove through California on the Coastal Highway.
Then did a crash coarse of Utah’s National Parks.
Made it down to the US Mexico border, in Texas.
I dipped down to Savannah, Georgia, doubled-back a bit to check out Nashville, Tennessee.
Return to Normal Life
When I finally found myself back in my home state of Pennsylvania, I felt nervous. Normal life couldn’t possibly compare to the thrill of waking each day to new and changing horizons. My travels had given me a beautiful sense of hope, and I didn’t want that to die.
I have since had many days where that has unfortunately held true. I’ve been working a job with long, often uninteresting, monotonous days. Sometimes I forget about the possibilities and genuine wonder within this life.
But now that I’m reflecting back on my time of wide open road, I am feeling hopeful once more. I am reminded that I can take charge of my own time on this Earth. There will always be obstacles (…not owning a car for a desired road trip), but my own creativity and willpower will also always exist.
So I am looking 2018 dead in the eye, ready to take charge. I want to start making life choices that bring freedom and power back into my life. I want excitement and changing horizons. And so I plan to travel.