There’s something about a road trip that just makes me happy. Maybe it’s gaining a new perspective, wallowing in novel places, experiencing a different part of the world. Of course it’s all those things, but it’s also leaving behind the world’s perception of who I am at home. While I don’t change into a different person when I travel, I don’t feel the draw to fit into any mold created by obligations. Even traveling with others, the newness of the experience cracks the plaster and lets me breathe.
I’ve been traveling a lot lately. I’ve been seeing more blacktop than home turf for the past month or so. Solitary road trips hold a special place in my heart, except when something reminds me of all the travel-centric urban legends about phantom hitchhikers and hook-handed crazy men. I can stop where I need to, listen to what I want to, sing along without breaking eardrums. I can mull over my perceptions and have my reactions without having to explain why I’m laughing until I cry.
Being in a vehicle with someone for long stretches of time without feeling the need to take a rolling leap out of the passenger door when it’s not your turn to drive takes a special kind of friendship. I’m lucky enough to have several good friends who have been terrific travel partners over the years, even if the catalysts for the treks weren’t always the most appetizing. Most of my trips are taken with a protective, cookie-stealing stuffed toy as a passenger, but I do enjoy good friends on long excursions.
I’ve got a few weeks before I hit the road again, this time as a tag along on a drive that is part obligation, part education, part tourist fiasco….unless I change my mind and wiggle away sooner.