Road Trips

Ever since I was sixteen years old and had my driver's license, the idea of a road trip, even the possibility of a road trip, was to me the essence of freedom. To just get in the car and go anywhere one wanted to go. OK, maybe not to England, but still. One could simply hop in and go just about anywhere, and on short notice, too.

I like driving. I am happy to roll down the windows, open the sunroof, play the radio (although now I can plug in my iPod and listen to a soundtrack of my road trip if I like) turned up loud, and watch (feel, even) the miles go by. Familiar routes have their own milestones - certain towns, signs, or places (South of the Border just over the state line in South Carolina along I-95; the Big Peach on I-85 in northern South Carolina; the peanut on I-75 South) let me know where I am and how far I have to go. Milestones - mostly silly ones but milestones nonetheless. I look for them and for others, noting the new pavement, any changes in the landscape, new by-passes, the absence of telephone poles. I like all the interesting small bridges crossing the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut and the big suspension bridge at Newport, Rhode Island, that spans the sparkling water dotted with sailboats.

On unfamiliar roads, I take it all in - the cows, the railroad tracks, unusual town names (gotta love Bat Cave in Western North Carolina and Two Egg, Florida), the fields and the houses. Visuals of these landmarks or milestones or curves in the road lodge themselves in my brain so that I'll remember them next time, if there is one.

There have been plenty of songs about being on the road. "Route 66," "On the Road Again," several James Taylor ballads testifying to the pull of the road. Being on the road is not usually synonymous with being in relationship, though. Often it is the symbol of not being in relationship, or at least not engaging relationship fully. The partner who travels a lot..... As I said before, the road symbolizes freedom to me.

I guess I just like knowing I can get in the car and hit the road, go somewhere else, experience a change of scenery; I like the excitement of the going, the anticipation of arriving in a different (even if very familiar) location, and checking off all the familiar and unfamiliar sights along the way. I never could read in the car, and so I always looked out the windows and soaked in the scenery. It makes me feel connected with the wider world to drive around in it, I suppose.

In a few days, I'm taking a road trip. So I'm getting excited. I am in need of some refreshment, I have a renewed interest in connecting with a the wider world. Maybe I feel the pull of the road, not for the road itself but as a vehicle (pun intended) to pull me out of my routine. I'm going to a familiar place, where I've been before, many times. I look forward to checking off the milestones, watching the scenery go by, feeling the anticipation of getting there even while enjoying the journey.