The Road is Freedom

Posted on September 4, 2014

roan mountain state park, pisgah national forest, north carolina, tennessee, the balds

 

The beauty of the American Road Trip is that there’s no wrong way to do it. At the age of 18, my first road trip became a milestone of independence and a right of passage. Over the years, the road trips I’ve taken have led me down a more spiritual path–one rooted in the idea of chasing the important things in life–inspiration, humbleness, and contentment.

For me, the road is more than packed dirt, paint, asphalt, and concrete. The road is more than its assigned numerical nomenclature and points of interest along the way.

The open road is where I choose to escape the toxins of the everyday–monotony, excess, and a routine life that is (admit it) generally absent of meaning and adventure.

In every metaphorical sense, the road is about experiencing the journey and all the details in between. Road trips aren’t for people looking to get from A to B, rather, they’re for those looking to experience everything points C, D, X, and Y have to offer as well.

Tanya and I recently returned from a 10-day trip on which we hit 14 states and racked up just under 5,000 miles. Not the typical definition of a vacation, I know. Most people need structure and a schedule and input from friends and Google and TripAdvisor on the most popular tourist spots.

toyota prius, cadillac ranch, amarilo, texas

A lot of people jokingly asked me if I just kept getting lost… for 10 straight days. For the record, all you funny people, that joke sucked.

Being on the road for 10 days without an itinerary was actually one hell of a liberating experience. Road trips are the vacation antithesis for most people; no all-inclusive buffets, shopping meccas, or five-course dining experiences (unless you splurge, which is totally fine).

By (my) definition, the sole purpose of a road trip is to be in constant anticipation of the unknown, but to be completely enthralled with where you are right then. I’m drawn to places where crowds don’t exist; the more off-the-grid, the better. I’m drawn to places where stories are told through landscapes, history, and the stars in the night sky, and most certainly not by some drunk college guy screaming at me through a loudspeaker on a guided tour.

It’s humbling to not have to worry about being too late or too early to wherever you’re supposed to be. Nature doesn’t ever close its doors on you. Be content in where you are at the moment, that you’re where you’re supposed to be–in nature. I crave that, and maybe that’s why I keep going in search of it.

Let yourself re-calibrate and sync your soul to the earth’s pulse. Our thumbs should be dirty and calloused from rocks and earth, not from flicking a finger against a glass screen. Instead of things, we should be hoarding experiences and fulfilling our innate curiosity. We rarely get out to appreciate this amazing, beautiful place we’re so lucky to inhabit.

Next time, consider taking the long road. Get lost and let yourself be uncomfortable with the unknown. It’s worth it.

Here are just some of the places I found when I simply followed the road I was on:

new mexico highway, route 66, historic

roan mountain state park, pisgah national forest, north carolina, tennessee, the balds

roan mountain state park, pisgah national forest, north carolina, tennessee, the balds

schwabachers landing, grand teton national park, wyoming, gtnp

roan mountain state park, pisgah national forest, north carolina, tennessee, the balds

mormon row, grand teton national park, gtnp, wyoming

new mexico highway

toyota prius, road trip

coffee and camping, campsite, camp food

snake river lookout, grand teton national park, wyoming, gtnp

roan mountain state park, pisgah national forest, north carolina, tennessee, the balds

tanya sylvan, monument valley, utah, arizona

pfeiffer big sur state park, california, road trip

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