Ah, yes. The open road. I honestly love driving as much as I love writing. Dare I say it? Maybe even more. Now, if I could just write while driving . . . I’d be in heaven. Quite literally, actually. Not such a good idea.
I’ve had a few discussions lately about long road trips and how much I love them. Generally, unless people actually get it, I see a glazed and befuddled expression beforeme that translates into something like . . . Drive across the country? For days? Alone?? You can’t be serious.
But I am serious. It’s so cathartic making a journey like that by yourself – especially if you’re moving from one part of the country to another. There’s time to process and reflect, and somewhere around half way to your destination, you begin to shift from what was to what will be. You transition from one physical and mental state to another, and you do it without interference.
Spending time alone – lots of it – has, for me anyway, been integral in my defining who I truly am. The thing I’ve come to realize about my love affair with long road trips, is that they force me to do one thing, and one thing only, while being fully present in the moment. You can’t text (unless you’re a complete idiot) or type, or surf the web. You can’t scroll through Facebook or email friends. Sure, you can talk on the phone, but why in hell would you when there’s a new and inspiring scene around each bend in the road that’s ready to inspire? Multi-tasking, be damned.
I’m gearing up for another cross-country trek in January, and I can’t wait. I’ll be taking a familiar stretch of highway this time to fit in a little research in Paris, TN – the home base of the protagonist in book two. My final destination’s familiar to me as well, but I’ll be arriving there with new eyes and a new vision for the future – all facilitated by five glorious days on the road.
I can’t imagine being prepared for a new start without a transition mission. I’d never want to get on a plane to begin someplace new – not unless I absolutely had to.
As long as I’m able to make the journey on two legs and four wheels, I’ll be doing it – solo. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a free spirit feel more at home than spending quality time alone without one.