What is something that you do that brings you satisfaction with your life? Think about it. Something that when you get older and you’re reflecting on your days on this beautiful earth, you think “dang, I sure found a lot of value in that. That significantly improved the quality of my life.” Is it gardening? Is it learning as much as you can about science? Is it how much money you’ve made? Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Mine is road trippin’. I guess the title might have given it away, but pretend like you were surprised.
I’ve been to 41 out of the 50 different states now, and every single one of them has been driven through. Flying is cool. Airplanes are fun and thrilling, you get gorgeous views, you get places more quickly, so on and so forth. But with road trips, you get to see all the “mom and pop” shops. The middle-of-nowhere diners that have “the best biscuits and gravy south of the Mason Dixon.” The old-style restaurants with the mystery milkshakes where Elvis Presley once stopped. You get the culture, the people, the nature, the drive-through states. This is where the joy comes in for me. I like to drive with the windows down playing whatever I’m feeling. Maybe some Country Roads, maybe some Our God, maybe some Red Hot Chili Peppers, heck maybe some T-Swift so I can listen to some relationship struggles (I mean am I right??). But this is also where the real thinking comes in. There’s so much time to think. Some of the best ideas I have come during road trips. Some of the best conversations I have are during road trips. You see so much. You learn so much. You experience so much. There’s nothin’ like it.
My latest road trip is one I’m currently about to finish. One of my best friends and I, the great Jimmy LaRowe, drove to Chattanooga, TN, to visit some amazing people he met and stayed with as a part of his externship he completed as he’s working toward his Occupational Therapy doctorate. In our short time here, I’ve learned how to play about 6 different songs on the guitar. I’ve learned how to pass while juggling with someone else. I’ve learned more about the Trail of Tears. I’ve learned what sorghum syrup is (apparently it’s what southerners use instead of maple syrup; it’s weird and tastes kinda funky). I’ve met some amazing people that I will forever remember and with whom I’ll hopefully keep in contact. I’ve met people who have strengthened my relationship with God. I’ve had conversations that have challenged my thoughts and beliefs, and yet helped me grow as a person. I’ve had difficult, yet rewarding conversations with my close friend about difficult areas of our lives. Struggles, challenges, experiences, failures, successes, growths. This is where I grow, where I learn. This is how I bond, how I build relationships with others. This is how I build trust. This is what I love. This…this is road trippin’.