Going Places without Getting Anywhere

Summer holidays allows some of us lucky folk to indulge our inner travel junkie. This summer was pretty much the lottery winner for the Sparks household in that regard, and it helped to scratch my perpetual go-somewhere itch more than a little. We went on a Road Trip. By that I mean a 6000+ mile loop from Texas to the west coast, north to Canada, and back again, over five weeks.

I won extra, since I got to make that trip with my favorite partner-in-crime, my husband. And he likes driving and I don’t much, so he did nearly all of it. I just got to watch the world go by, cities, states, countries, plains, hills, mountains, rivers, forests, and much more. I sat there mesmerized, my camera propped on my lap or–more often–shooting away virtually aimlessly as we buzzed by at 85 mph/137 kph (yes, there are some places where that’s the speed limit in the US) in hopes of catching some of the amazing, beautiful, weird, wonderful stuff we passed along the way. Thank goodness I didn’t have to try this kind of photography on the Autobahn.

Being dyslexic in so many helpful ways, I am the last person who should be navigator on any trip, but I was reminded that maps of any sort have their limitations anyway, and GPS only adds new layers of complexity and adventure, as when our perky GPS announcer lady (affectionately known as Peggy Sue) calmly informs us from time to time that we are in Undiscovered Country, or as she likes to put it, Not in a Recognized Area. The fun part of it is that the map on our GPS just goes blank at that point except for the little red arrow that is us, which thereupon floats through the air with the greatest of ease. That’s when I really call on my fantastic piloting skills, of course.

Mostly what I learn from maps of any sort is how far we are from where we intended to be and how many complications lie in the space between. But that, too, is part of the thrill and amusement of road-tripping or, for that matter, travel of any sort. The planned and well-known aspects are seldom as exciting and interesting as the things found by accident, the experiences had in passing and the ‘scenic route’ that is a fixable mistake. If we never made any U-turns or wrong guesses or took any side roads instead of the Main Drag, life and travel would be ever so much duller. And this trip was anything but dull. I’ll share some of the adventures with you when the dust settles!digital illustration

Hither and Yon

photoTravel calls. It almost always does. I am grateful that travel doesn’t always require a lot of concrete resources. Because when travel demands that I join hands and run away with her, I may not have instant access to the time, money and practical resources needed for physically hitting the trail.

That’s when I travel Inward. While I love traveling in fabulous cities and foreign countries, unknown rural roads and famous tourist sites, I also delight in traveling the interior world. I make inner places both based on those lovely locales I’ve visited in real life or know of through others and on ones wholly invented by my strange little imagination, and they’re populated with all sorts of people and creatures, real or magical or, better yet, a nice mix of the two, doing whatever the denizens of such places should or can do. Anything can happen, and in the inner world I can be the one deciding what that Anything should be, playing puppet-master and ringmaster as I see fit, and returning home to my conscious and ordinary world of day-to-day life when it’s time to do so.

And when traveling Inward is not enough or the moment of wealth arrives when I can afford traveling Outward again, that’s what I like to do. So much unexplored territory remains for me to learn, experience and enjoy. To assimilate as fuel for further inner invention! So many friends and towns and countries I long to revisit. Beauty and mystery and joy and adventure that removes me from my ordinariness. That, whether my journey goes inward or outward, is a grand and miraculous thing.

May we all travel well, wherever our travels take us.photo