This summer, I took several road trips. I even took a road trip accidentally … one that I never intended to take. If there is a hell, it has to partially be paved with I-95 … particularly the four mile section that took three hours to traverse. We could have walked home faster.
I once heard a college friend of mine say that when traveling, he’d rather drive than fly. He said that unless he feels each and every mile under him, he loses a sense of groundedness. In other words, to leave one world one moment and be in another world in the next moment, that is too mind-blowing. Flying disoriented him. He wanted to see every mile pass by his own eyes. He wanted to know exactly where he was, where he had been and where he was going. No “I-Dream-Of-Jeannie now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t” eye-blink for him. His feet were staying flat on the ground.
Ok … I understand that when he made that proclamation, he was young and dumb. (To his credit, he has probably long since changed his mind and become a proud frequent-flyer.) But, on the other hand, I appreciate his sentiment … and even my sure embellishment of it. Life cannot be lived by skipping over the required mileage. We just can’t be picked up and beamed from point A to point B. Rather, we have to live every inch, every mile, every pothole, every road construction, every detour, every toll booth, every traffic jam. In fact, if someone had magically flown me into mile 48 of my life without me having to wander and negotiate through the first 47, I would be so stupefied that I would swear I taken the wrong flight. I would be left dumbfounded, asking the question – how the hell did I end up here?
Indeed, flying might be the more efficient form of travel but the value of speed doesn’t work when it comes to our personal pilgrimage. My story … my particular road-trip … is horrifically and wonderfully mine. I didn’t plan it and I certainly didn’t intend it to turn out the way it has. But it is mine and I got to find a way to own it. Were there many stretches of road that I wish I could have flown right over.? You betcha. In fact, there are exits and detours taken that I hope to never visit again. And yet, I am where I am today because of the path I have trod. And in that, there is no magic. Just worn tires, mileage on the speedometer, crumbs on the seat, scratches on the paint … and hopefully, along the way, an expanded soul that has been nourished and can now nourish.
Next summer, my family and I have plans to fly somewhere, anywhere. Meanwhile, my daily life requires that I keep my feet on the ground and stay on this adventure. No telling what it has in store for me, but I am grateful that I get to take it mile by mile. I am buckled up and settled in. It’s gonna be a long ride ahead but I am ready.