I drove cross country for the first time this summer. I drove from the coast of North Carolina to Santa Fe and then all the way out to Oakland, California and back. People thought I was nuts to do it by myself. When they would ask me what I was doing, and I told them, they thought I was insane to drive cross country alone. I loved every minute of it. I learned how to drive ten hours a day and balance my camera on the steering wheel. I kept Duckie, my stuffed duck in the passenger seat for company.
I have seen the painted desert, the meteor crater, the largest cross in the Northern Hemisphere, the pyramid in the middle of Nashville, the Pacific Ocean, Highway 1, the lava rocks along the side of the road in New Mexico, the cacti in Phoenix, the Donner Pass, the green, green fields of Nebraska.
There is a sense of adventure when you get behind the wheel of the car (or baby truck) and head out for places unknown. No matter that you have XM radio and cell phones and your laptop, there is still a sense that you are doing something that has never been done. No matter how many people have traveled I-40 or Highway 1, or I-80, each mile of blacktop feels as though it is yours. There is a sense of freedom to it just being you on the road. For a while, you are unfettered, free from it all.
There is a reason why so much of our literature and stories focus around traveling and journeys. There are things to be learned when it is just you. No noise to distract you, no deadline, no timetable. You are forced to think the big thoughts that get pushed to the side in our day to day life. Better yet, you are forced to think of the answers. If you are miserable when you are traveling on your own, you have no one to blame but yourself. You are truly in control of your own destiny. You are responsible for your happiness, and yourself. You decide what happens, what turns you take, what you want your life to be.
Smart people come back from such journeys changed. They’ve learned something about themselves, and what they want from life.
For me, it was a renewal that I could be on my own, that I still had my freedom and still had the power to make my own life. It also made me realize how much I love an adbenture.