When I was growing up, my parents and I regularly took road trips. Sometimes, the road trips were relatively short, for example, to Wakulla County in north Florida, where my dad was from, to visit his relatives (to whom he referred as his “kin folk”). Other trips were of 2 or 3 weeks duration, when we took our annual vacation through America, Canada, and Mexico. Regardless of the length of the trip or our final destination, we always had a great time. Life, for my dad, was an adventure not to be spent indoors. Sadly, my dad passed away when I was in 9th grade, ending our tradition of fun road trips. In the years after Daddy’s passing, Mom and I went on several road trips together, with me always in the driver’s seat instead of my usual place in the navigator’s seat (the front passenger seat). These trips always involved visiting my brother, Park, and his family in Georgia, then visiting Mom’s relatives in her home state of South Carolina. When possible, I added a fun stop or two, such as the Outer Banks on the North Carolina coast, to the trips I took with Mom. Living in Miami in the 1970s meant that numerous road trips were taken by my friends and I to Key West, where we had fun, fun, fun! Since David and I have been married, our road trips have been few and far between. We seem to always be in a hurry and, rather than take a road trip that would add too many days to a vacation, we usually take an airplane trip to someplace, rent a car, then drive to see the surrounding area. These flying/driving trips are fun, but, in my opinion, they are very different than a road trip. For one thing, flying on an airplane, for me, usually begins the vacation on a negative note due to all of the hassles associated with air travel. (I have never lost my suitcases on a road trip, but have had plenty of bags lost on flights, as just one point of comparison!) As I write this post, David and I are planning to take a two week long road trip that is the longest road trip in our marriage. We will be doing some of the fun things my parents and I used to do on our vacations, such as picnicking and traveling on the back roads of the south. I expect to meet some interesting people and have some exciting stories to tell upon our return. Road trip, anyone?
Those who are reading this post know that the road trip Melissa mentioned that we were planning turned out well. The Mississippi Delta provided fun, good food, new friends, and some life expanding experiences. Growing up, I did experience a few road trips, but, probably because my traveling Dad didn’t always find road trips to be his idea of a vacation, not as many as Melissa experienced. While we made frequent trips to visit family in Atlanta or Orlando, longer trips were rare. But, when they happened they were memorable – to Washington, D.C. and to New York – including a West Point graduation. One particular road trip from Jacksonville to Houston, including a day in Mexico, was particularly instructive to me of the value of getting out of town to experience the world. To explore. When I lived in Australia, getting out of the wonderful city of Sydney provided a much deeper experience than if I had stayed put. A road trip I took there included riding a bus from Adelaide, to Alice Springs, to Darwin, Brisbane, and back to Sydney – lots of roads, many of them unpaved! I like road trips, though I get tired of the driving, because I can take lots of “stuff” with me. As a photographer, that is part of the deal – I like to have lots of stuff/gear with me. But, whether trips by trains, planes, or automobiles, I’m reminded of the lyrics to a RUSH song in which Geddy Lee sings “the point of the journey is not to arrive.” And if there is any doubt, read the experiential travel books written by the person who wrote those words – Neil Peart. Life is a journey to be experienced; for us, beyond the city limits.