There should have been updates here, I know. Foolish traveler that I am, I thought I timed things to allow at least a couple of hours of regurgitation each evening, my chance to reflect over the day and record my impressions. I had been warned that this was an unlikely scenario. Many have gone before me, I should have listened.
Well, no matter, because the important thing for me was that I experienced things fully. I quickly realized that this would not allow me much time beyond short Facebook updates and photo uploads. I am just now taking a breath and thinking about the things I learned during my 5 weeks on the road.
The first thing I learned is that I have no problem being alone for long stretches of time. I would sometimes drive 5-6 hours with only short stops and I genuinely enjoyed myself. Most of the roads I took were wide open, so driving ended up being very relaxing for me. I didn’t have to worry about anything as long as I kept my gas tank topped off and my restroom breaks safely spaced out. If I wanted to stop for coffee or a hike or a hot dog or a hat museum, I was free to do so without having to consult with anyone. This is awesome.
Another thing I learned is that I’m not quite as friendly as I thought I was. I’m pretty sure I walk around with a permanent scowl, even if the most joyful thoughts of winged kittens are floating around in my head. This could be a latent defense mechanism or a facial tic, I haven’t completed all the required tests yet. I did have this vision of finding myself in the center of all kinds of social, random adventures. Instead, I was a quiet observer of many strange and/or mundane things. I should have pushed past my comfort zone a bit more, but I don’t have too many regrets on this front.
A third thing to add to the learning list is that I have some of the most amazing, hilarious, generous, beautiful friends in the world. I was so lucky to be able to visit with folks I have only kept up with on Facebook. Everybody went out of their way to introduce me to their world, which was exactly what I was hoping for. From 6AM breakfast and child hair braiding in the suburbs of Atlanta, to club hopping and band schmoozing in Austin, I got a full immersion lesson in how my friends are living. Crab feast amongst the strip clubs of Dundalk, MD? Why not? Front row seats to a nighttime boat parade in San Antonio? Yee Haw!
On a larger scale, I grew to appreciate mad genius in all its forms. Every tourist attraction, whether historical or wacky, was really a display of one person’s focus, drive, and madness. It’s easy to poke around The House on the Rock and just think the dude was a misguided kook. . .except, he’s been dead for years and people are still paying almost $30 to walk around his house. Maybe not so kooky! And just because Mount Rushmore is a monument to history, it’s still kind of bizarre to see these faces carved out of a mountain. On a smaller scale, I saw all kinds of art cars, climbed the world’s largest shopping cart, tasted some really good biscuits, and genuflected at the Most Holy Sun Studios. All of these things were manifestations of someone’s desire to be the best or biggest at SOMETHING.
I’ll be updating a bit more with photos and things I remember.