“No road is long with good company.” (Turkish Proverb)
Some people might think of our American road trips cross-country strictly as a solitary escape from life. For it does seem tempting from my urban perspective to consider such independent travel as a way to free myself from dealing with pressurized social obligations associated with work, family, and leisure routines. Yet in the end, it seems shortsighted for us to ever envision such long distance travels in the absence of genuine human companionship.
Consider for example how often it seems that my wife and I have made new friends using a “Eurail” Pass option during summertime in those cozy passenger compartments along the way to Paris, London, Madrid…. Or envision how our destination driven travels around the United States by car often enable us to rekindle long sought relationships with “significant others” such as a favorite cousin, school buddy, or a sick friend in desperate need of a caring human nearby. So let us take a look at the following imaginative scenario.
AN “ALL STAR” BEGINNING
USFMAN wakes up early on a quiet Sunday morning at home. Something seems eerily different today as he notices a bluish mist of spinning dust hovering in his living room. With some uncertainty, he proceeds to walk into this low hanging cloud. As his mind seems to bore steadily through a narrow tunnel, he suddenly experiences visions of four historic heroes from the past that he’s always admired. As the cloud vanishes over the next few seconds , USFMAN immediately gasps in seeing these prominent figures standing still beside him now in living form.
To break up the awkward silence of this moment USFMAN finds the courage to ask each of them now why they have returned from the the past through this time portal? It soon becomes clear to him that all of them strongly desire to accompany USFMAN on his upcoming road trip plans in September when he proceeds westward across the United States. How happy he feels now in realizing that their presence will enhance this upcoming journey in both heart and mind. Brief conversations ensue then as to how each of these “superstars” from the past might best enhance the “greater good” of this long distance endeavor.
Know then the names and historic legacies of these four historic figures who will now join with the ever practical Mrs. USFMAN and himself to soon embark on a most momentous travel journey. For they truly represent an “All Star” Road Trip lineup
USFMAN (Trip Organizer/Driver) – Mrs. USFMAN (Budget Manager/Co Driver) – Jim Morrison (Group Entertainer) – Claude Monet (Group Artist) – Henry David Thoreau (Special Travel Advisor) – Mahatma Gandhi (Spiritual Advisor)
COME ALONG JIM MORRISON AND CLAUDE MONET
To better endure those lonely travel days moving through the vast distances and remote wilderness of the American West, I first recognize Jim Morrison as the wildly entertaining lead singer from Classic Rock days with “The Doors.” For as a popular celebrity star, Jim will feel quite at home in such inhospitable places we traverse such as the Mojave and Death Valley Deserts. So as Jim serves in the capacity of our trip entertainer, I look forward then to observing his “deep” thoughts about life and creative actions. I suspect Jim might even honor us with a masterful new piece on his guitar or scream out a passionate poem of love during those desolate passing times of our road trip. He would also be happy to know that I’m willing to tolerate Jim during those drug induced “trips” he often takes to get “high” as long as he continues to entertain us well.
Being excited to further heighten my senses to the experience of the present moment, I add famed, French painter Claude Monet as our official road trip artist on this road trip vacation. For I’m excited to be present as he paints his “Impressionistic” illusions involving shades of color in rock strata at the vast Grand Canyon or of diverse wildlife scenes at Yellowstone National Park I also anticipate that Morrison and Monet will make compatible travel partners on this adventure. For I have high hopes they will take the time to share their creative talents with each other and thus create new works of artistry containing a fusion of both music and art.
COME ALONG HENRY DAVID THOREAU AND MAHATMA GANDHI
I truly admire a travel vagabond like Thoreau who can survive a simple life alone in a self-built cabin for two years at such a remote place as Walden Pond, Massachusetts. For he seems to be the right person on this road trip to become our Special Travel Advisor and thus offer timely solutions to any difficulties we might face as we cross those arduous trails through the Rocky/Sierra Mountain regions of the western frontier. Thoreau’s bold expressions of “Civil Disobedience” might further pique my strong interest in him as a mediator of dispute as we anticipate experiencing unexpected occasions of “locals” distrust as we pass through as strangers in small, rural towns.
Called “The Great Soul in Beggar’s Garb” at a time of British Colonial rule in India, Mahatma Gandhi possesses a strong track record of unselfish service to all groups of people. Although quite small and frail, he exudes an “inner” aura of quiet activist, who prefers passive resistance rather than retaliatory violence to meet his ends. Based on Gandhi’s firm yet unthreatening reputation in the face of personal confrontation, I would thus wholeheartedly welcome him to our group as our spiritual group leader. For we will welcome Gandhi’s wisdom to peacefully resolve tense situations of racist/xenophobic “backlash” when we cross those enthused by the Trump extremist agenda. I also recognize that Thoreau and Gandhi will likely bond as companions in their shared advocacy of human action. Imagine then how their “can do” charisma can spread to our group as whole in the hope that we can stand ready to volunteer in a community like Lake Tahoe, now threatened by massive wildfire destruction.
So you might suspect that that I will be writing future blogs concerning this fictional road trip endeavor. Know that our “All Star” Road Trip crew stands ready to tackle such problems as the climate change crisis, denial of facts and science, and intolerance of racial/ethnic diversity escalating across America today.
KNOW EACH OF US A LITTLE BETTER