“I’d been to California once or twice, been all over the East Coast, but I didn’t really know the country in between. So, my goal was to really see America. And that was the frame for the journey. It was the first great journey of my life and it was the most important experience of my life in terms of shaping who I am.” (Josh Foer, Atlas Obscura, 4/3/19)
No matter what age you are, the experience of embarking on an American road trip can significantly help you embrace living life to its fullest . In our country today, busy people receive their daily fix of news from either television or the internet. Why not sample authentic America from different regions of our country for yourself this year? As I embrace the bright awakenings of springtime with my wife on our present nationwide road trip, consider the following personal questions.
(1) To what extent are Americans so divided as politicians say they are?
(2) Am I so different from those who are portrayed as opposed to my point of views?
(3) Does the immigration issue really call for building more walls in this country?
(4) What new friends made on social media can you meet face to face on road trip visits?
(5) How will your exposure to the stillness of wide open spaces in the American West impact your present state of mind?
(6) If you realized you had only a short time to live, how might a cross country road trip impact your end of life, spiritual understandings?
Perhaps the road trip artistry expressed in a 2003 poem by the late Kurt Brown might inspire you to “move the needle” for seeing for yourself, your own version of the American dream.
“The new road runs along the old road. I can see it
still imprinted on the earth, not twenty feet away
as I drive west past silos and farmsteads, fruit stands and hogs.”
“Once in Kansas, I stood in a field and watched
the stars on the horizon revolve around my ankles.
People are always moving, even those standing still
because the world keeps changing around them, changing them.”
“When will the cities meet? When will they spread until
there is a single city—avenue to avenue, coast to coast?
What we call “the country” is an undeveloped area
by the side of the road. There is no “country,” there is no “road.”
“It’s one big National Park, no longer the wilderness it was.But the old world exists under the present world
the way an original painting exists under a newer one.
The animals know: their ancient, invisible trails cross
and re-cross our own like scars that have healed long ago.Their country is not our country but another place altogether.”
“Anything of importance there comes out of the sky.
In Amarillo the wind tries to erase everything, even the future. It swoops down to scrape the desert clean as a scapula.”