It’s rare to feel displaced in our modern world. Distractions are always available in the superficial rhythms we swim in today. But taking a trip through nature is the greatest medicine there is. Escape those tangled Wi-Fi webs for long enough in a serene environment and you’re sure to run smack dab into somebody you really miss: your soul.
Yup, that little guy who dared you to dream before you drowned him in data. He misses you. But if you inspire him with enough serenity and scenery, he’ll get to work reconnecting your heart to your brain. So go fill up your tank, find a lonely dirt road heading toward some hills and drive up it, rejoicing in the fact that there are no road signs.
Let your little voice guide you. He may lead you astray for a while, but you’ll be better for it soon enough.
Get to know the real AmericaBack in 1960, author John Steinbeck spent months driving across the country with Charley, his wife’s French poodle. He soon discovered America’s fancy new highways were sprouting towns that looked and felt eerily alike. So he swore off primary arteries in favor of slower back roads that were dotted with tiny towns, roadside cafés, mom-and-pop shops and small farms.
Steinbeck documented his wonderful journey in Travels with Charley, an absolute must-read before any American crossing. In 1960 he was already lamenting the country being transformed by a growing thirst for instant gratification. And while technology will continue to feed that beast, wander far enough off the highways and you’ll still find lovely pockets old-school Americana charm.
ReconnectWant to really get to know somebody in a hurry? Or truly catch up with an old friend? There’s no better way than traveling through the countryside with them for days on end. The best thing about taking back roads is they usually lack cell service, forcing passengers to revert to our ancient, uniquely human form of audible communication: dialogue.
Strange things happen when both passengers can be generous enough with their time to lend the other their ear. Bonds get bigger. Problems get smaller. And we learn to embrace the uncertainty of what’s ahead.
Let the road take you
There’s no better way to let the mind wander into a state of uninterrupted reflection than having an empty scenic road in front of you. There’s something to be said for heading flat out into the unfamiliar, and pressing heavy on the accelerator is fun too. ‘Nuff said.
Rediscover stillnessDirt roads are filled with difficulties. Things can and will go wrong. But the adversity makes the pleasant stuff you’re sure to encounter all the sweeter -- in particular, those moments of stillness that become plentiful once in the great wide open.
Stop. Get out. Look around. Take your mind off producing things, and instead focus on being present.
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