Life is About Enjoying the Journey
The sun is shining and the windows are rolled down. Something with a soft beat and occasional guitar strum is playing on the car radio and I am resting my bare tanned feet on the dashboard. A guy is driving, it doesn’t matter who, because all I care about is the feeling of the warm, dry wind brushing my hair across my eyes and the scent of summer on the breeze. I’m on a road trip to anywhere. Nowhere. Somewhere. Everywhere. It doesn’t matter. I’m moving, destination unknown, but in the right direction.
Every adventure I have ever had has started this way. In a car, music on, windows down and a long road ahead. To me it’s the epitome of living life as you should live it. Eyes forward, mind drifting. It is the first vision that comes to mind when I think of being young and free – a long, hot, endless ride to the big unknown. Anything can happen, and it most probably will.
I was twenty-five years old the first time I jumped into an old beaten-up station wagon and rang my mother to say that she wouldn’t hear from me for five days. I had met a guy and was heading into the Australian desert. I’d be fine, more than fine, because we’d made a plan. A well thought-out flawless plan that went something like this:
– Buy a cheap car
– Fill it with two sleeping bags, some food and 30 liters of water
– Drive for five days and only stop when there is something interesting to see
– Find somewhere to work. Or not.
As I said, it was pretty flawless.
So there he was, my veritable cowboy. And there I was, a lone backpacker. And there was the road… that unwavering arrow pointing to adventure, forever north. The scenery didn’t change for days, save for the odd dead kangaroo or large rock. We slept in the car, we ate on the side of the road by torchlight and we talked. But mostly we listened. We listened to one another’s life stories, long uninterrupted monologues at 90 miles an hour where life can’t reach you and stop you in your tracks. We listened to country music and Jack Johnson singing about love, loss and being free. And we listened to the world around us sigh that contented sigh of wide open spaces where there are no other people, no buildings, no cars but us, and no movement save for the odd lost marsupial.
I could hear the whispers of sand shifting, time crawling and clouds passing. Silence was the soundtrack to my big escape… the sound of a life worth living.
And now, I’m back again. Although this time I do care who the man driving beside me is, because he is my husband. And nature is drowned out by my children giggling in the back seat and playing ‘I Spy’. But my tanned feet are back on the dashboard, my man is humming along to Bob Marley on the radio and the road is going on and on and on. Of course our trip is better planned this time, there are more rest stops and less listening, but I still only care about the warm wind in my hair, that long beautiful road ahead of us and the adventures that await us at the end. Wherever that is.
Because I’m not really bothered about where we are going. I’m simply enjoying the journey, my frozen moment in time, my road trip to anywhere.