Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Year In My Rear View Mirror

I have always been driven by relentless curiosity. I thoroughly enjoy learning about or seeing something new, albeit I prefer it to come from a participatory experience. I have never claimed to be the most bookish person in the room, but certainly the one most driven by a need to figure things out on my own in an effort to learn, see, feel, — I am a super star researcher and always the first to book a ticket or jump in a car to road trip somewhere unknown. I love the freedom of the road and all of it’s meandering, unscheduled stops and making-it-up-as-I-go-along. This way resonates with me, and with each new place I see, person I meet, piece of art or architecture I encounter, another breadcrumb is thrown on the path of experience and understanding. We have much to learn from people around the world, or in our own back yard, simply by the act of listening and bridging the gaps. It is in this spirit, I took it upon myself to rapidly explore more of America by myself over the past few years — from small towns to big cities —  when I got tired of reading stories about changing cities, economies, politics and migration patterns. I needed to see it for myself (*I have written a bit about it before here)

Listen to our Suitcase Sojourn conversation about road tripping below

I read a lot about how the ‘trend’  is for travelers to seek a more immersive and authentic experience, but I think that desire has always been there – to feel a part of your surroundings and tap into its rhythm. In fact, I am always surprised at those people who have the access & privilege to travel extensively, only to want the same experience transported everywhere they go. I mean, what’s the point? What are you learning? How are you growing? How is that fun? Part of the reason I love traveling alone so much is that I can ping pong from one experience to another on my time, as it comes up, as I am drawn to it. Also that I can saddle up to a restaurant bar for lunch anywhere and learn the ins and outs from the local bartender or fellow patron who are more willing to chat to you when – I am always so grateful for their insight. It also gives me the ability to wander, take in the sights and stop anytime to photograph without driving someone else nuts. It’s in these quiet long walks I really get a sense of a place (but again, I never go anywhere without research under my belt – always plan for spontaneity) and step out of myself, which it turns out was the theme of my year. I have had a wild ride of various milestones over the past few decades – even if they seem different by ‘average standards ‘ or ‘out of order’, but they have been done on my terms. And taking to the road often gets me closer to myself and away from the chatter that hinders my steps forward on other path, and can clear up those life decisions that are often covered in doubt and fog. I am never one to look back – I take the lessons and run – but we need to have the openness and heart to face a future.  In Carrie Bradshaw opening sequence terms: I had to wonder, have I been doing things for the wrong reasons, when I know I can do better following my gut and my need to explore? Yes. And I think there comes a point many of us realize shifts have to be made to make room for the person we have grown into. It happens continually. Change is key and necessary, and sometimes we are so buried we haven’t stopped to breathe, check in and notice. The road and the conversations of the past two years have really helped me understand where I am at and I am forever grateful for it. The freedom that comes with the unknown, and having the confidence to know you’ve got this, is something I wish for all of us in 2019. Take care of yourself, take care of others, speak up for those who need a voice. See you out there in 2019 xo

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” ~ Ferris Bueller

In depth Domestic road tripping over the past two years has included: Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Montana, WyomingNew MexicoColorado, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, PennsylvaniaMinnesota, Massachusetts, DC, Virginia