I started this blog post similar to the first installment of Weekend Road Trip. I planned to provide you with another day of driving and cataloging our stops. I decided instead of continuing the saga of our weekend, I would share some thoughts that go beyond the stops.
You may remember I mentioned Mom and I would make annual road trips to see my grandmother. These times are some of the best memories I have growing up. We would sing and laugh and talk and occasionally get lost. Until a couple of years ago when we started visiting a friend of hers (a friend we used to swing by to visit for an afternoon on our way back home from going to grandma’s), we really didn’t go on road trips anymore. It seemed after we moved to live closer to Grandma, there wasn’t any reason to drive anywhere.
How sad to think that all those years we did not go on a single road trip. We were too busy with our daily lives. I was too busy with school and marriage and work. She was too busy with work and Dad and then Grandma. Amid all our busyness, we didn’t think about going anywhere. Not together anyway.
We were missing the point of the road trip.
The point of a road trip isn’t the destination. When we went on road trips in the past, we always had somewhere to be or someone to visit and we had to be back within a certain time frame. We didn’t see very much from the highway. When we did venture off the beaten path, we were still confined by time. We didn’t have a lot of time for sight-seeing.
I spoke about this in Weekend Road Trip. I briefly talked about how we were excited this trip would be different. So much so that we didn’t even make hotel plans. We finally got the point of the road trip.
In my younger days I would go on day road trips with a very good friend. We loved to just jump in the car and see where the day would take us. I never did that with my mom, or really anyone else. It is very liberating to just drive without specific direction.
I wasn’t sure how Mom would react to not having specific plans. Our road trips to Grandma’s were always meticulously mapped out. We knew how far we were going to drive in a day and where we would stay long before we packed up our car. I was a little apprehensive when I told Mom we didn’t have a hotel reserved for either night we would be away. I said we would just go where we wanted and figure it out along the way. I wasn’t completely surprised, but very relieved when she readily agreed to what she called a “by gosh, by golly” trip.
On our road trip we really didn’t make a lot of stops. It wasn’t the point. The point was the journey. We wanted to feel the sun our face, the wind in our hair, and the freedom of the open road. If we saw something interesting, we stopped, but the stops weren’t important. They didn’t make the trip. Spending time together and singing and laughing and talking made the trip.
I understand a lot of people are uncomfortable with going on a trip with no destination and that’s all right, but think about it. Take the time to be free, even if it is just for a weekend.