WanderWoman: A woman with an intense desire to explore and travel the world.
This past week, I was on a road trip – both figuratively and literally – from Northern Arizona to the Dallas area and back. And yes, right smack in the extreme heat wave warnings.
It was initially meant to be a trip with my friend to get my son and explore the Southwest a bit. But she canceled at the last minute and turned into a good time for me to reflect on the life paths I have taken and the ones I’m seeking.
With my bags packed and my mind, heart, and soul open to whatever lay ahead, I departed. After dropping the dog to the “doggie dude ranch,” the familiar sensation of freedom and liberation enveloped me, mirroring the sense of autonomy I sought in my daily existence. The road stretched out before me and reminded me to savor every moment of the journey.
When I get in the car like this it truly feels like time travel or as The Goonies say in the car on a long trip, “this is my time” not the world’s. Road trips act as a meditative space, allowing me to unpack the baggage I have accumulated along the way.
The landscape outside my window changed with each passing mile, an apt metaphor to the constant evolution of life. I saw lush green farms, sparse deserts, unique mesas and landforms jutting out to vary the landscape. There was heat and there were moments of summer storming, cooling the earth and releasing the fragrances one only can experience after a rain in the Southwest.
I have always found solace in road trips because they allow me to process the emotions and thoughts that often became tangled during the hustle and bustle of daily life. With every mile, I revisit memories, both joyful and painful, and allow myself to feel them fully. The long stretches of empty highway provide moments of solitude and introspection.
Road trips remind me to be patient with myself, to celebrate my curiosity for unknown towns and scenic byways, and to be kind to myself and others. You never know what may happen on a road trip where favor and fortune are possible at each turn.
Day one, the hotel called to ask if I wouldn’t mind being upgraded to a suite since they oversold to rooms with 2 beds. Like life, I take detours. I plan some stops ahead for myself but some I choose to skip; some I sadly cannot fit in the time and some are much more amazing than expected.
For me, spontaneous deviations represent the choices I have made and my continued willingness to explore new possibilities beyond conventional routes. I’ll take five minutes to see the world’s largest pistachio! I keep my eyes open for the loveliness of green pastures as well as the spirited Apple Boys of the world. These diversions remind me of the importance of being open to change and embracing the unexpected turns that life offered.
Road trips have always been a way for me to clear my mind and gain a fresh perspective. Returning home, I feel reinvigorated and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead. Just as the trip allowed me to explore new places, I am now better equipped to explore new facets of myself.
In the end, road trips are so much more than a means of travel; they are transformative experiences that help us navigate the winding paths of life. With every road trip, discover a little more about who we are and who we want to become.