“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
It has been a few weeks since Jordan and I returned from our adventures. We landed in Rehoboth Beach, DE and, from that time forward, I have been trying to extract the lessons to be learned and understand the new dreams that have appeared. Twelve days, but countless lessons.
1. Travel more
The old adage that you learn more by leaving the comforts of home and [Augustine’s quote] “reading more than one page” is so true. I forgot how much I enjoy being an observer of the new and different and, believe me, even different parts of our country are new and different. Everywhere we went, Jordan and I were recognized as not belonging. We did all we could not to be loud or tourist-like, but still we were discovered.
I asked a native of the Mid-West about the phenomenon and he asked, “What car did you drive?”
I replied, “My Prius”.
He began laughing. “Well, of course,” he said. I was supposed to ascertain from the expended belly laughs that most out west do not drive hybrids, at least not until you hit California and then, I have learned, the highways are full of them.
He went on to say, “And you look like you are from the East Coast.”
“Really?” I said. “When I was in Italy they thought I looked French and when I was in the USSR they thought I was from Germany.”
Apparently, when I’m travelling internationally, I never look American. But, when I’m in my home country, it’s shockingly apparent that I’m from the East Coast.
I will remember to keep traveling even when the comforts of home beckon to me, and the anonymity of day-to-day routine offer safety and comfort. Travel—in a car, on a plane, cross-country, or cross the state—all teaches you more about yourself than any number of Buzzfeed online quizzes.
2. Discipline works
Every night after hours on the road, I would sit down and write my Road Tripping blog entry. I saw it as part of a job and neither physical exhaustion nor mental fatigue dissuaded me from ignoring my duty. That daily discipline is one I wish to transfer into fulfilling what has long been asked from me—a blog of my own. I have been wary of the work, realizing the sheer number of blogs being written versus the minute number actually being read both disappoints and deceives the writer. But, I am going to set forth on this writing journey, remembering I write for me, and if anyone else happens to read and think about the work—great, and if not, I accomplished something for myself.
3. Relationships can be healed and strengthened
Sit in a car for 12 hours and talk. Honesty is a necessity. Vulnerability becomes a reality and understanding and empathy products of these discussions. My new catchall recipe to fix any relationship: get in a car and drive. Don’t allow phones or technology to be used until you reach your destination. Do this for a prolonged period of time and I promise you real and positive results, or at least the honest state of your relationship will be revealed.
4. Age is an advantage
Ahhh…to return to my youth with this level of insight, confidence, and perception…perfection. My road trip was relaxed and without stress (except when I was hungry) because I was without expectations. We did not pile on too many chores or too many demands. This age of 51 allows me to see the forest from the trees, the priorities from the silliness, the honest from the deceptions, and gives me peace at the end of the day. I may have more veins and more wrinkles but me, at half a century plus, is so much nicer than me at 25, worrying about where I was going and how I was going to get there. Now I sit back and appreciate, take it in, and breathe. It feels good to breathe.
5. Rekindle your dreams
Jordan, at 25, has a list of dreams—a real list. Every time he said he wanted to do something, from skydive to begin a podcast, I wrote it down in our travel book. He has two pages of dreams. I, on the other hand, I am searching. After raising children and making them the center of your every day, to be able to step back and discover what else you want to do with your life is both daunting and potentially scary. Because, where you are is not necessarily where you want to be. The good news is, that unlike many at my age, my relationship with my significant other is solid and he is absolutely whom I need; but, everything else is on the table. I am discovering, from this trip, I am ready for a change. I too need to create a list, rediscover my list, and once again begin to work towards those dreams. Perhaps that is what I shall name my blog—Looking for Marian’s Dreams.
My son leaves home tomorrow. He is off on another leg of his journey. I have always known that the life he creates for himself will be exactly what he needs; he will be the person he was destined to be. He has set off on this journey carving paths for himself that were not easy and often filled with naysayers, but onward he travels—learning, creating, and becoming the Jordan he is proud of and satisfied with. This time, as he leaves, for the first time, I know I have retuned to that same journey of self discovery, as well—Marian’s journey. It’s good to be back.