That drive was daunting to say the least. 2800 miles from Chicago to San Francisco, and what lay at the end of it was a completely new life. Almost as if I had just graduated from college, ready to take on the world and see what it dished out, only this time it was 20 years later. Starting over is never easy. Making the decision to start over is even more difficult. (If it’s a decision made for you – as it was for me ten years ago, it would be a little easier to embrace. Ten years ago, I had no choice. And that decision made for me at that time was the best thing that had ever happened to me until that time.) This one was a conscious decision to veer from the path I had chosen for myself. I had come upon a fork in the road, and this time I chose the road less travelled.
While I am not, oftentimes I feel like a very young man, not because of anything I feel physically (cos with all the aches and pains I endure, I am decidedly not a young man), but because the lens with which I look upon the world – though it is not true – bears a strong resemblance to someone who has not been hurt, who has not been thru a myriad of trials, who has not had many life experiences. And if you believe in reincarnation, I am decidedly a young soul (where I would describe my little brother a decidedly old soul), still making a ton of mistakes, still learning. Now that I really think about it, I’m not sure if that makes me a young soul or not.
That being said, I love young people; I gravitate towards them. I love their exuberance, their belief they’ll live forever, but always living for the day. I love older people that hold onto the energy of their youth, though with the perspective of their years. I love kids, because they cut to the core of the human heart and find human happiness. They have an honesty not watered down by life’s experiences. Their happiness is an unbridled joy. They do not know what they don’t know, which actually makes them significantly smarter than you or I.
I thought of all these things on that road trip from Chicago to San Francisco, which of course meant that I thought of my family and my friends.
That drive was daunting to say the least, but it gave me time to think. When I think back to that week, I think about what a gift that roadtrip was.
I love roadtrips. My mind general races significantly faster than anything I can say or do. While my eyes are constantly photographing what they see for potential future paintings, my heart is embracing the relationships that I have, and my mind is constantly cataloguing experiences to turn over in my head. This is what happens on my roadtrips. For 2800 miles and several days last June, this is what I did.
I was fortunate to have good friends along the way to put a roof over Taylor’s and my head. I drove south and stopped at my parents for a late lunch in Indianapolis, IN extremely sad as we pulled out the drive for our next stop, knowing it would be a long while before Taylor sees them again. That night we spent at my friend Erin’s house outside Kansas City, MO catching up on the stories of our mutual families and the friends of our hometown. The next night, we were in Boulder, CO with my friend Joe, one of the greatest thinkers, creators and adventurers I know. The following two days and one night, we spent exploring then camping in Moab, UT (under the stars and full moon an extremely spiritual moment that lasted a poignant eternity for one night where I thought of every thought I could possibly think of and then cried, Taylor looking at me understanding the emotion poring through me). The next day, we drove straight through Provo then back west through Nevada, spending the night in Reno with my friend Dawn, a wonderful mother, and her son Jack, a wonderful boy. That next eve, we were in the Bay Area, and I watched the Super Moon from the banks of the bay in San Rafael. It would be another few weeks before Taylor and I found a home in Sausalito, but that’s a story for another day.
Five days. Four nights.
I thought of all of you.