It's true. I do. I absolutely adore road trips. I wouldn't necessarily call myself an experienced roadtripper; however, I have moved across the continental United States twice, not quite coast to coast, but I'm only a couple states shy. I've lost count exactly how many states I've been through or my children, and I'm pretty sure my husband only beats me by two tops, but I think it's safe to say, most. In fact, it'd be easier to count how many I haven't been to: Maine, Vermont, NH, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts (hmmmm, I'm seeing a pattern here). So pretty much New England. I haven't yet experienced New England. Or Michigan. Or New Mexico. But that's about it.
And growing up, we went on a lot of road trips. It's the absolute best way to experience the United States, in my opinion, especially the Western United States, which is where I hail from, though not originally, but you knew that. Now experiencing the deep South is remarkable and has given me a greater, grander appreciation of the people, places, and things, all the nouns that make up this country. However, at the same time, there's something just a bit off. Maybe it's with me. Entirely probable, since I can't seem to shake a perpetual anywhere-but-here mentality, and want to fulfill a nomadic existence which grows more and more impossible the more children I bring into the world, and yet, I just can't not bring more children into this world. They're too perfect, even and especially in their imperfections.
This blog post read recently sums up my current feelings about living in this beautiful country:
"There is something particularly dissonant about it, something that explains so much of why the culture can't seem to pull together, to truly embrace its diverse origins... it does shed a light on what I consider a truly American dilemma: rootlessness. The sense that one can do anything, move anywhere, experience whatever kind of spirituality, lifestyle, culture, bioregion, is emblematic of the American experience, and yet, the "freedom", the endless amount of choice doesn't seem to make people happier, or even create a more diverse culture. Many, if not most people here seem lost, wandering to different places every generation, and the dominant culture, for the all the diversity on offer, seems strangely mono-cropped, and constrained..."
I was fist pumping, hallelujah chorusing, and checking if anyone else could read my mind because this gal sure did. You can read the entire post here. She goes on to explain in other prophetic words how the internet monetized blogs and that people are out to get a buck by branding themselves, which I find terribly amusing because I have tried. More than once. To "brand" myself. But, it turns out, I don't fit neatly into a box. Or a hole. Or a peg. I cannot be branded because I am a million different facets rolled into one and those facets change as I change.
I originally started writing to show off my crafting, which went well enough. Then I had a baby and didn't craft for a loooonnng time. And since that baby brought my current count to four, I didn't really have time to do much else, except eat, sleep, work and care for younglings (and a husband who is going through grad school and rockin' it, I'd like to add). I also tried my hand at photography and I LOVE it. Oh, how I love photography, but that wasn't really a new thing, I just started pushing what I and the camera could do.
I've been stealing my dad's camera for as long as I can remember and there's photographic evidence of my charades as a "camera bag holder" on many a vacation. However, a pattern began to emerge. When I put too much pressure on myself to really be fantastically amazing at something I realized that I wasn't that fantastically amazing. Don't get me wrong, I take some pretty amazing photos, and I never ever shoot on auto, but when I was caught up in the staging aspect and getting my children (or other people's children) to look and act a certain way it just wasn't natural. I love being behind the camera and capturing moments that are real. Moments that will transport me back to that moment. That joy. That surprise. That awe. I love photographing people (so it's a good thing I'm surrounded by so many). But I also don't want there to be photographic evidence of the fact that it's been three days since the dishes were cleaned and put away. I couldn't brand or stage or construct my images any better than I could brand myself.
So what does all this have to do with road trips? My, what a good question. Honestly?
I don't know.
I began writing about road trips because I'd like to go on one. I just love being in the car and staring out the window at God's and man's creations. I love listening to audio books as a family and piling pillows so high I can barely see the people in the back row who are play fighting with action figures and actually fighting with fisticuffs and throwing sandwiches and Twizzlers every which way hoping they land on someone's lap. Before my computer crashed I had a photo, two actually in succession, of a road trip we did early in our marriage, back when we only had one kid. The first is of my husband, at the wheel, with a Capri Sun (Mountain Cooler all the way) hanging from his mouth (both hands on the wheel), he's slightly smiling and the trees are blurred behind him. And the next image is the cup holder console area of our Subaru Forester (loved you Suzy) filled to the brim with the discarded silver pouches. For some reason, those two photos epitomize my roadtripping fantasies. Maybe it's just me, okay, it's totally just me, but I like being trapped in a car for hours on end. That's a box I'll happily climb in.
So what does this mean? Nothing really. I'm just putting it out there that I like road trips and hope to someday soon enjoy the open road to somewhere. I don't like self-branding, I just can't fit in a box, there is too much happening in my head, too many interests, not enough time, and lots of little people. I have learned to love and appreciate this glorious country while also taking a long hard look at why it is the way it is and how that has shaped me to be the way I am. These thoughts were jumping around my head and desperately wanted to get out. So here they are.