Recently, I've driven across the beautiful state of Washington three times from my home on the semi-arid desert, steppe region on the Eastern side to the lush, evergreen, and mountainous Western side. Each time was for a different reason but each time was to visit the same set of family who live over there. The first weekend, it was for my cousin's baby shower (it will be the first grandbaby for my dad and his siblings! It's exciting!). The second weekend was a girls' trip for my friends and I to see Ellie Goulding in concert at Key Arena. The third time was a single day trip back to pick up my car, because life happens and I lost the one and only key to my car during our fabulous day in Redmond and Seattle, meaning my cousin graciously let me borrow one of her vehicles while my car stayed behind getting a new chip key made at the dealership.
Yesterday as I drove to and from the West side of the state for the third time, I spent a lot of time thinking.
I thought about a lot of things, as is how my brain works, but something that struck me again and again was how I actually enjoyed the drive. It's 3.5 hours one way and the third trip was not planned nor was it spurred by a fun event, and yet I had a strong feeling of belonging and understanding and, well, peace.
I love road trips and I always have. My dad is a huge fan of driving and I grew up with an appreciation for that truly American tradition of road trip vacations.
There's something so satisfying about listening to the tires on the road hum and feeling the sun move across your skin as you slowly turn with the curves of the highway. Think about the wind in your hair, sunglasses on your face, passengers smiling, and just leaving it all behind. Growing up in the West has definitely supported these things; I know that, culturally, we hold on to the adventurous charisma that allowed the West to be discovered and settled in the first place.
Even when driving alone, I relish the drive. I like being able to settle in for a long haul with road snacks and beverages and music. There have also been times when I left the house, to go for a drive - no destination in mind - just to clear my head. I'd drive out of town toward the hills and sometimes just keep driving until I felt better. Other times, I'd drive to the top of a hill, park, and then sit on the hood of my car, looking over the town.
My car and I are a pair, a team. It's so silly to be so attached to an inanimate object, but there have been long days, long weekends, and hardships where the sight of her waiting for me to take me anywhere I wanted to go was everything I needed. She is my home on the road. I love her and she has been so reliable and strong, truly a mighty steed.
All of these thoughts (and more, of course), were on my mind as I drove for hours these past few weeks... This has been my first "Wonder" installment of the blog. Wonder will also include poetry and prose, aside from this type of post, which I'm going to call an open writing from my stream of consciousness. Hope you enjoyed it, even if only a little.
What thoughts do you have while you drive?
Do you like long drives and road trips?