I’ve never been a car person. I like cars but not as much as my uncle Fred. He’s a car guy. I didn’t get it until a few years ago when I started watching Top Gear (the British version, obviously). Those guys LOVE cars and their frequent road trips made me want to know what it was like to get excited about a stretch of highway.
Today, I found out.
The road is from Terlingua to Presidio. It winds through the desert and mountains for a glorious sixty miles. Sasha, my trusty little sports car, was so happy. She kept saying “I can’t believe you’re letting me have such fun.” She’s a good car.
There are plenty of places to stop and take a photo or eight. Sasha usually preferred not to stop, but she knows how much I love photography and that it’s for the blog. She loves being part of the Vagabond Novelist journey so she understands.
I don’t know if this road is typically busy or not. I’d imagine there are times of the year where it is more crowded than it was on this day. I picked a great time and zipped along letting my eyes soak in the awesome, and the pit of my stomach take in the turns and hills. It was as I had always imagined when watching Jeremy, Richard, and James.
The world is a big place and I think we sometimes forget how much wonderful there is just on the other side of the horizon. It’s easy to get comfortable on the couch watching other people living our dreams and never consider just doing it. When you do hop in the car and drive down the highway to the edge of Comfort Zone, Population 7 Billion, and then blast on through, the view is new and worth checking out.
What I could see when I got out of Comfort Zone was this amazing view. Until you’ve seen possibilities at sunset, you’ve not lived. I thought I was happy (and I was) back in Martelle, Iowa, writing my novels, and playing tennis. “Comfort Zone” happy. When the moment arrived that the days lying ahead filled me with the same excitement I felt on Dec 24th at age ten (trying to stay up and catch that thieving bastard who takes the cookies I leave out), I experienced a new happiness.
I’d imagine everybody has their own road out of Comfort Town. My decision to go was an easy one. There aren’t any children, pets, or a wife to consider. I have a sickly bamboo plant, but I think I’ve been overwatering it, so my absence may be a blessing for Mr. Bamboo. I just decided to go and I went.
Most people can’t do that. Most people don’t even consider it. But I wonder if people still have their dreams? Have the jobs, children, and obligations made dreaming a luxury they’ve decided they can’t afford?
I hope not. Dreaming is not a frivolous activity. Some years ago I affixed an idea in my brain and when I needed a break from life I’d go there and look around. Even spending fifteen minutes imagining what it might be like to live on the road was usually enough to recharge my batteries and give me the energy to write another chapter or binge-watch three seasons of Archer.
The thing about those decadent little dreams is that if you visit them now and again they have a funny way of becoming your life. I’m not the first person to follow a crazy idea they’ve been hiding away from everyone and to just go for it. I’ve not read too many stories about regret in making that choice. Of course, people who follow their dreams and are crushed like a small piece of fruit beneath a steel toed boot, may not be inclined to discuss it. I need more data.
I spent a day driving 120 miles just to end up back where I started. A trip without point or purpose but with so much value it will stick with me forever.
Note: This entire post is best if read while listening to The Beatles “Long and Winding Road”. But that’s my sound track; I’m sure yours would be different.