Lessons From The RoadOct 05, 2022
I landed in my home state of Minnesota over the weekend after a 7-day solo road trip. I traveled over 2000 miles, across 7 states, took in amazing views, connected & decompressed in nature, and camped in beautiful locations the entire way.
For me, solo road trips have always been more than a vacation. They offer adventure, new experiences, time to be with myself & my thoughts, and they're always personally growth-giving.
While I could tell dozens of stories, I thought I would share some key insights that are on my mind from this trip that I feel are share-worthy, and that we could all be reminded of.
1) People are really great most everywhere you go. It was so refreshing to be on the road, in so many different places, and experience the kindness and friendliness of people everywhere. I thought a lot about how so much of our communication with the world over the last few years has been online. I thought about how much division has happened in our country recently, and how downright nasty and negative people can be to each other in online forums as they hide behind their keyboards. It can be easy to forget how kind and welcoming most people are to each other in person. I'm reminded that regardless of how much hate can be spewed online and how much it feels like our country is going to hell in a handbasket when you take in the news...when you get out there and just BE with the people around you, for the most part, people are really good and they are good to each other. Everywhere I went, people were so kind, conversational, helpful, complimentary, and inquisitive. It was so wonderful to connect with strangers from all over the country wherever I went.
2) It's SO good to just let go of plans, timing, and trying to control how and when things happen. This is when things really flow well in life. This is a lesson that I seem to learn in my life over and over. I did not plan this trip out at all. I went with what I felt like doing when I felt like doing it. The only parameter I had is that I wanted to make it from Washington state to Minnesota in one week. Within that week I decided what I wanted to do each day, hour by hour, and decided where I would camp for the night each day of the trip. When I think about how much I try to plan out details in my life, and how much I like to push often to make things work in the timelines that I envision, it makes me cringe sometimes. Every time I go with the flow, let go of a timeline, and follow my intuition - the timing of everything works out great, everything I need lines up, and I enjoy myself so much more. This trip was SUCH a great reminder of this. I know that the fantastic experience I had on this trip was absolutely due to allowing myself to go with the flow.
3) Speaking of intuition....I focused deeply on following my intuition throughout this trip. I was guided by my inner knowing so many times - the routes I took, the places I stopped, the campgrounds I chose to camp in, the places I avoided, and even the auto shop I stopped at when my car was making a funny noise that made me nervous. My intuition led me to one of the best places I have ever camped in my life with beautiful hot springs to soak in. It led me away from a place that did not feel safe, and to a much safer feeling (and more beautiful) place for the night. It led me to meet the nicest mechanic in Jackson, Wyoming that took part of his morning to just chat it up with me in the mountain sunshine over coffee one morning and sent me on my way with zero worries about something going on with my car while refusing to take any money for his time. When I listen, my intuition never leads me astray. It's a good reminder to remain tapped into intuition in daily life.
4) Nothing is purely easy and great, and it's so good to remember that....especially in the moments when things don't feel great. Life is a mixed bag of chips and along with fun and adventure, there are always moments of anxiety, frustration, fear, or pure exhaustion. I was thinking about this as I post some images from my trip online. We so often see people's life online as the pictures tell the story. This can lead us to think everyone has such a perfectly dreamy life, perfect relationships, or perfect experiences, and that's far from the truth. We don't always show or see the moments that felt more challenging. While my trip was 90% fabulous, there were most definitely moments that were not. I took in all of those moments for what they were, and even when I was in a circumstance where I was SO tired and had landed in a place to stay for the night that didn't feel safe, I found gratitude for the fears that arose, because that is what guided me to a place for the night that was absolutely beautiful and did feel safe. We always have to remember to roll with the punches so to speak and to hold gratitude for the gift that contrast brings us. If everything was wonderful all the time, then it wouldn't seem that wonderful, right? Never believe that someone's vacation, relationship, or life is perfect from pictures you see online. It can lead you to compare your experiences in an unfair way. Your friends will likely never post pictures of their screaming kids' meltdowns or family arguments that happened on a trip. I don't have a picture to show you that would express the fear I felt when I drove white-knuckled through the most harrowing mountain pass at night with a truck riding my tail the whole time blinding me, the frustration I felt when I was so exhausted after 600 miles of driving and I wanted to cry because I didn't feel safe where I was and needed to move on, nor my anxiety for hours and hours of a drive through crazy mountain roads wondering if the squeak I was hearing meant that my wheel would malfunction and throw me over a cliff. I just don't have them to share....but those moments were there along with all of the majestic trip pictures I've posted. Nothing is ever as perfect as it appears. Nothing.
5) It's important to spend time in places that make you happy. Nature is my happy place. Whenever I spent time in nature, I feel grounded. I feel in awe. I feel like nothing else matters in the world because...look at this beautiful place I'm in! Being in the mountains, the trees, along rivers & lakes, and in hot springs is so rejuvenating for me. I LOVED being outside for a full week - fully in the elements and present to take it all in. Sunshine on my skin, wind in my hair, earth below my feet.....being submerged in nature for a period of time grounds me into myself in a way that I can't really put into words.
You might not be a nature person, and may not be able to relate. It's okay if you don't - we're all unique humans! I think what is important is knowing where "Your Happy Place" is. Where do you spend time that makes you feel grounded, connected, present with all that's around you, and tapped into what is most important to you in life? Wherever your place is, do yourself a favor and spend some time there when you can.
In closing, I want to address just one more thing.
I have so many women inquire with wide eyes about me traveling solo....
"Aren't you scared?"
"Wow, that's so brave, I wish I had the nerve to do that."
"You do all of that alone?!?"
Yes, sometimes I'm scared.
Yes, I still do the things I want despite the fear.
I'm actually more afraid of not doing the things I want to in life because of fear.
Anything new is generally scary. Over time it gets easier and easier.
Most things that are growth-giving and really rewarding are going to be scary in some way.
Fear is something that will be present a lot in life, and that's ok.
It's there for a reason.
We can choose to avoid anything in life that feels scary, or we can choose to live with fear and do the things that we want to anyway.
That's simply what I choose to do.
I keep my wits about me when I travel.
I pay attention to my surroundings.
I follow my intuition.
Sometimes I feel fear, and that's ok.
When I have blissful moments like soaking in hot springs all by myself, surrounded by beautiful nature, in the middle of nowhere, it's all worthwhile for me.
I can't imagine letting my fears stand in the way of me doing what I want. I'm actually much more afraid of letting that happen than any fears that arise when I adventure alone.
To all of you that may be hesitant to do something that you want to because of fear....I say go for it.
All my love from the midwest,
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