You could say I’m addicted to road trips and you wouldn’t be wrong. I think I must truly be a nomad at heart, and I’ve never been more okay with embracing a label than that. I think the technical definition of nomad is:
a member of a people having no permanent abode, and who travel from place to place to find fresh pasture for their livestock.
I have never personally owned livestock, although my family has at various times. But I still like this definition. I’m not finding fresh pasture for my livestock, I’m finding fresh romping grounds for my imagination, my free spirit. It doesn’t get any better than that, right?
I have been on a couple of road trips in the past several weeks. I first went to Nebraska with a stop in Long Island on the way, and on the way back. That trip took about a week and a half. Then I was home for less than a week before taking off for another: this time taking my dad on what was supposed to be a 48 hour trip to see some of his old college buddies in upstate NY. 48 hours became closer to 100 hours.
Either way. I’ve been driving a lot recently. And it’s been lovely. Exhausting, but lovely.
I posted on my friend’s blog about that feeling of thrill as you set out on a road trip. I think there’s a certain thrill to ending a road trip, too, but I’ll leave that for another post. But most significant of all are the things which impact us during our trips and at our destinations.
I’ve learned some things about patience, and waiting (…road construction.)
I’ve learned some things about balance (…literally balancing rocks.)
I’ve learned some things about searching til you find what you’re after (…geocaching!)
I’ve learned some things about people (…meeting your dad’s college buddies will do that to ya.)
I’ve learned some things about myself.
I have this funny feeling in my heart, or my stomach, or wherever it is people seem to physically locate emotional feelings. I feel like my heart has grown a size or two, and I think that every time I go away and come back, that’s exactly what it does. That, I think, is the true beauty of travel and return, of adventure and roads that take us back home.
Everywhere I go, I seem to find something to love – whether it’s people, or places, or modes of being. And everywhere I go, and every time I come back, I feel that I leave a part of my heart in a new place.
For a while that troubled me, but now it’s everything.
Instead of thinking of it as leaving a part of myself in each new place, I think of it as stretching my little heart to all the corners of the world. And each place I go to, I just stick a push pin in it, right there. And as I go on, backwards or forwards, to new places and old, my heart gets pinned in countless places. It’s bridged oceans and continents, and is filled by the things I’ve encountered there.
These are the lessons I learn from the rocks I stack and the treasures I encounter. Maybe one day I’ll write down the stories that go with these lessons, but for now, I’m just relishing the wonder.