Week 1 Reflections

I made it from Los Angeles to Seattle in Week 1, saw 17 friends, logged a lot of miles, and am so thoroughly thrilled that I am doing this trip.  Most people ask me if I’m driving by myself, and I often respond that, with all the socialization I’m doing, the down time in the car to reflect is not only necessary, but welcome.

Some of the themes I noticed in my conversations this first week are: work/life balance, finding a niche both in career and in social community, and discovering hobbies.  Overall, people have been receptive to the Facebook road trip idea and to getting together.  I’m surprised how easy it is to sit back down with these people after various lengths of time and different levels of closeness.  And I love the interplay of the personalities I remember and the personalities my friends have now.  They are simultaneously similar to and different from the people in my memory, but in nearly every case, each person seems more himself or herself.  I am truly fascinated by this phenomenon.

I’ve also had a good deal of personal reflection.  My current struggle is how quickly or slowly to go, both from day to day and even within the days.  I had a forced day of down time on Sunday, since Susan had a wedding and Dirk and Alicia weren’t available until evening.  And I needed it so badly.  I am still emailing and notifying people that I’m even doing the trip, and until that’s completed, I probably won’t get a much-desired break from the computer–some of the downfalls of flying by the seat of my pants.  There is always stuff to do.  Heh–sounds like life, right?  And on these beautiful drives, I end up taking pictures as I’m flying by scenery at 80 mph rather than pulling off the road, getting out of the car, stretching my legs, breathing the air, and capturing the moment.  Why do I do that?  I feel the pressure of getting to my destination, seeing the people, making good time, winning against some unknown road-trip time-keeper.  How dumb is that?  My friends wouldn’t care if I were 10 or 20 minutes later.  There is no game to win or lose.  Most people who know me can attest that I am a procrastinator.  Why, in this context, am I so anxious to get things done?

I also think a lot, can you tell?  A friend told me before I left, “You’re going to have a lot of time with the voices in your head.” Perhaps a goal for the next week should be to stop and observe and enjoy more and think less.

Finally, I’ve realized that I am by no means and in no way doing this alone.  This trip would be anti-fun if there weren’t people on the other end willing to accept a visit.  I couldn’t do it without the phone calls on the road, the shout-outs on Facebook, knowing people are clicking on links and reading this blog, and that’s outside of the visits, meals, beds in spare rooms and air mattresses of the people I’m actually visiting.  This is truly an experiment in community, and I am privileged to be on this adventure with all of you.

Here are some of my 80 mph pics:

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