I love the thought of an empty highway that stretches through the open landscape. It speaks to me of our amazingly scenic countryside, the beauty of nature, the great outdoors and an escape from the ordinary where a route to freedom lies on the horizon. Next time you need a change of pace, take to the road and make sure you buckle up for an adventure to infinity and beyond – for the road, it is certain, is where you venture into your deepest self.
Fulfillment of a dream is one of the most delightful experiences, especially when that dream is a journey of a lifetime with the ones you love. For many years my husband Kent and I have wanted to take his son Johan on a cross-country trip but for one reason or another the timing was never right.
In 2010, Johan decided to move from his home country of Sweden to finish his last year of high school with us in North Carolina. Upon graduation, he was determined to take a year off before starting college. This is known as a GAP year.
Knowing the value of a break, Kent agreed to the GAP with the stipulation the year was not to be spent ‘hanging out at home on the computer playing video games’ – Johan must either get a job or travel.
It’s no surprise he chose travel. The surprise, and Johans’ gift to Kent and I was that he chose to travel with us, thus fulfilling our long time dream.
In August 2011 we purchased a used RV and a road atlas, set a departure date and without much research, no reservations or timetable and armed with curiosity and an open mind, we hit the road and headed West.
Travel is rewarding on so many levels. One gets to see the beauty of the landscape, experience various cultures, witness geology and understand the effects of history. More importantly, travel introduces us to our own self and helps us to learn skills useful in navigating the river of life – skills such as curiosity, tolerance and gratitude as well as a sense of community, responsibility & adaptability. If lucky, one might just discover their passion – resulting in a profound life changing experience.
In her book A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman writes:
“The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom ones curiosity like a high spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding and despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. It began in mystery and it will end in mystery but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.”
At the conclusion of our adventure, Kent, Johan and I all agreed that the genuine gestalt of this trip was the unfolding interior & exterior sojourn we were privileged to experience every single day.
In the future, I will share my photographs and writing from this time. It is my gift of gratitude to those I shared this journey with, and to all those who made it possible.
Thanks for taking the journey with me!
Jo Ann Tomaselli