Note: This essay was originally published on “The old Blog”. It’s been lightly edited and tuned for your reading pleasure as we are on the road this week!
“When are we going to California?” This question has been coming at an almost constant stream from my daughter Yvie. The response each time is “We are going to California right now sweetie.” This answer is true; it’s just that we are getting there via the Sand Dunes, Penitente, Durango and now Chaco Canyon. We are constantly going to California, just not via a very direct route much to the chagrin of our four year old that can’t wait to see her cousins and play on the beach.
In our everyday life we are constantly deluged by deadlines.
Get to work on time, daily work expectations, squeeze an hour in at the gym, hit the pub before happy hour is over, weed the garden, fix that broken thing, cook dinner before The Squirt melts down, plan for tomorrow before your brain melts down (are we going to get enough sleep tonight?). Even happy social engagements with friends can end up feeling like commitments rather than opportunities to connect with our loved ones. It all needs to happen and it often feels like it all needs to happen now.
A week into the trip, Brenda and I are finding we are, at last, settling into the road trip mindset. There are no daily deadlines. Each day we wake up and ask each other “What do you want to do today?” That could be packing up the rig and heading to another state, visiting a new climbing area, checking out that brewery in the small town we will be passing through or maybe just extending our stay a few extra days so we can check out that other trail we stumbled across today or participate in a special event. Our plans and itinerary change daily, hourly with the whims of what we want to do. Spontaneity returns as the freedom of the road trip mindset replaces our busy home schedule.
It takes a while to settle into though. The first few days of a trip we find ourselves micro managing our time as if we were still at home. Questions like “When will we arrive at camp?” “How long will it take to hike that trail?” “Will we still have time for….?” Somewhere around day 4-6 on a trip the switch starts to flip. Time matters less. We begin to relax.
Anxiety fades as time stretches out.
Remember how long summer break felt like as a child? How those summer months just seemed to stretch out forever? I think long trips are the way to recapture that feeling. To slow down time and to recapture our ability to enjoy each moment rather than always thinking about what needs to come next.
Next stop….California. (Though there is that National Park over there… and I hear there’s some good climbing near Flagstaff…. I wonder if there’s a good river or swimming hole in Arizona…)
Until next time…See you out there!