Road Trips, Travel

Road Trip: In the Company of Me

For over ten years I dreamed, rather fantasized, of taking a road trip. You know, the kind where you throw some things in the truck, van or whatever, gas up and hit the highway. Maybe a loose idea of where you are headed, but open to making a right or left turn at the crossroad. At the “Y” choosing this way or that way—and none of that mattering, because the only purpose is to be going somewhere. “Anywhere will get you there,” and in this case, that adage works.

In 2004 I bought a sport utility vehicle. The first thing on the must-have-on-board list, behind the heated seats, was the ability for me to crawl in the back, and make a bed. Just thinking about the road trip fostered the most incredible feelings of freedom. The fantasy of being a gypsy rebel hippie-type felt so right. All of that, saddled with the responsible, level-headed, what-the-hell-are-you-thinking—societally crafted woman. But know this, it might take this Renaissance woman some time to make something happen, but when she does—watch out!

I never did take that SUV out for that self-promised adventure. During my next car purchase, a compact sporty hatchback, I used the same evaluation techniques—crawling into the back to see whether I could fit in there comfortably in case I got the itch to just take off. I did fit, yet sadly it’s 2008 with no heated seats—a sign of our times. I bought in anyway.

Fast forward with 50,000 miles under my treads and still no road trip. At the opening of last year I could feel a real tug, no nonsense this time, to hit the open road. Sunset Magazine, three months in a row, sending me front-cover options. The Grand Canyon, Highway 101 to Big Sur and Yosemite. I held onto all of them like a bible, this was surely a sign—I only need to choose. My soul screaming louder than ever. “Just pick one!”

You know the saying, “He/she who hesitates is lost.” I didn’t want to be lost any more. Hesitation cast aside I commit to a trip to Yosemite—alone. Big gulp. And with it comes racing in my internal voices of reason, doubt and fear, compounded by the fears of others when they hear about my plans. “What about the bears?” “You’re going—alone?” And there it was—the thing that had been holding me back, out in the open. Alone. Well, I live alone, and I’ve been doing my life alone. What was this all about, the idea of driving a very long distance—in the company of me? That was my fear. Who would I find during this long and seamless 400-mile drive? Would I be bored with her? What if she snores? (Obviously that was a joke.)

Here’s what I found. The road trip was an amazing opportunity for self-
discovery. From the minute I rolled onto the highway, my left brain busy with the details of driving, the right side in complete creativity and awareness. Solidly present to my surroundings, and more importantly, to my heart and soul. I sang out loud, laughed out loud, laughed at myself and raced a train, making portraits of life all along the way. It was an entertaining time that passed far too quickly—such a surprise. The outward journey was also an inward journey of self-appreciation and love. They say if you can’t love yourself (all of you) then you can’t fully cast that love out to anyone else either. All these years living in the fantasy of a road trip, which I thought was about being away from the daily grind, turned out to be far more than that. It was about being in the company of me—fully alone. I filled up my own cup.

And I never saw one damn bear!

Is there something you’ve been dreaming about—that trip of a lifetime, complete with the list of why-nots to support it? If you tell me about it—I will support you in making it happen. How about now?

3 thoughts on “Road Trip: In the Company of Me”

  1. Bernie says:

    This is great. I am currently in a fantasy about taking the month of June to road trip alone to Wisconsin and back, stopping at the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelley Arches and more. Your article inspired me so hopefully I will be able to go! Love this blog site! Say hi to Steve!

    1. loribrookes says:

      Fantasy over. 😉

  2. loribrookes says:

    Hi Bernie!

    I took two other solo road trips after Yosemite. One to the Grand Canyon and the other up to Carmel via Historic Highway 1. It seemed I fantasized forever! Now I know it’s a simple as jumping in the car, filling the gas tank—and going. Can’t wait to hear about your adventure. Sounds marvelous!

    I’ll give him a wave (Steve!)

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