To get to all 59 National Parks, we have to travel great distances. We are always on the move. Waking up in a new place every day is great. In fact, it has been the biggest adventure we have ever undertaken. When we tell people about our trip, a common question we get is, “do you guys get sick of driving all the time?”
We’ve fielded the same question countless times, but it still seems to catch me off guard. Probably because I don’t feel like we are driving all the time! We drive a lot, yes. In fact, we just cleared the 20,000 mile mark. That is a considerable amount of miles! But, we are always getting out of the vehicle and constantly experiencing new places. But even if we if we didn’t do these things, I don’t think I would feel like a prisoner to the RV. I enjoy the driving.
I feel like some of our best ideas are hatched on the road. When settled in the driver’s seat I am able to let my mind wander. I assess the progress of my personal goals. I return to the past; reminiscing makes me laugh (and sometimes makes me cry). I think of the ever-pressing Near Future, the awkward and often-forgotten Middle Future, and the impossible Far Future. I make plans in my head. Then often times spew them to Madison and we laugh about how crazy they are! I think about the status of our bank account. I run though some of the better lines of the book I just finished. I dream about building a family. I think of come-backs I wish I would have thought of in the “heat of the moment”; I practice apologies. I run over the ever-growing “to-do list.” I sing along with the tunes (in my head, of course, ain’t nobody wanting me to sing out loud!). I flip my mind into the mode of mindfulness.
I don’t know what it is about moving the vehicle down the road that I like, but it almost puts me in a trance. I feel like I find a groove and GO. I seem to drift into a numbness that allows me to spin into my own world of consciousness. I see the lines on the road. I see the trees. I see the mountains. I see the occasional deer. But even though I see these things, I’m alone in my thoughts.
Photo by Katch Silva
Driving only becomes a chore when I am tired. We avoid driving at night as much as we can. For me a lot of our trip revolves around looking out the window as we roll down the road. There are so many stories to be seen on the roadside. When it is dark outside, we miss them all.
As a new driver, I used to cringe every time I had to fill up my truck with gas. It was the worst. I just hated the idea of literally burning my money. Over time, and with a lot of help from this trip, my perspective has changed completely. Gas gets me places; fuel furthers my adventure. Now, when we pull up to the gas station, I calculate in my head how far this full tank will take us! I think of the new places we will see and the people we will meet. I really don’t know what else I would rather spend money on.
The idea of this National Park trip wasn’t just to complete a 59-tiered check list. We wanted to become acquainted with the beautiful places of the United States. We are well aware of the fact that we are still only scratching the surface of each of these parks. However, driving the roads along side these beautiful landscapes has helped us become familiar with the unique features of America. The picture of our country has become clearer the more miles we log.
So far we have driven through redwood forests, over countless mountain passes, and to the northern most (drivable) point in North America. We plan to drive until our tires fall off – and then we’ll get some more and keep going! Road tripping is good for the soul.
Thanks to Michelin for sponsoring this post. When it comes to those we care about, no distance is too far. Use #BeThereMoments on Instagram to connect with a community of likeminded people who are making the effort to show up when it matters most.