lost, for a little while


it begins.
August 23, 2010, 9:28 pm
Filed under: ideas, rant
Don't fall off the cliff!

Pembrokeshire, Wales

 

When I was in high school, I dreamed about getting in my car and just going. Windows down, Oasis blasting (don’t judge), and nothing but me and the twin beams of my headlights. Out of my little suburban bubble, and on my way to the big, bad world. I just wanted to go.

After I graduated, I did — sort of.

I headed to a school in upstate New York, seven and a half hours away. The drive took me through Canada, a simple route that bypassed such interesting markers as the sign for Wayne Gretzky Highway, innumerable rest stops with Tim Horton’s, and the seductive Duty-Free shop. I never stopped except for gas and the occasional coffee to make me coherent enough to get through customs. By the time I was a junior, I could make the drive practically in my sleep, it was so dull and predictable.

Once I completed my oh-so-useful degree in journalism, I felt that road-trip itch again, and batted around the idea of traveling down the east coast, stopping at various monuments and attractions (both those nationally-recognized and those considered mere tourist traps). But that plan was transformed into a mad dash cross-country when I was accepted into a six-month magazine internship program. The drive was from Michigan to New Mexico, about 1,500 miles, and took roughly 2.5 days to complete. It was just me and my mom, and there was no stopping to see the World’s Largest Ball of String or the Grand Canyon.

But oh man, once that internship dwindled to an end and there was no chance of employment in sight, I started seriously sketching out all the places in this country I wanted to see. At this point, I’d done two internships that had me spending a lot of time reading about cool places to go in the United States, and I was ready do some primary research. Instead, I ended up funding my own flight to Philadelphia for a job interview in a small town about an hour north of the city. The most exciting part of that drive was when my rental car was upgraded, free of charge. Soon enough, I had accepted an offer for my first real job and I was speeding back across the country in my trusty Honda CRV, National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States laying crumpled beneath a suitcase.

Six months later, here I am, one of the few people lucky enough to call themselves employed in this rough economic time. The problem is, I don’t feel lucky. Because even though I’ve always managed to get where I’ve needed to go (been expected to go, been told to go), I’ve never managed to just enjoy the ride.

I plan on changing that.

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