My family went on a road trip last week. Our first very long drive since we took the kids to visit my family in Michigan a couple years ago, and our first real road trip since Yarrow was born 6 years ago. We had an amazing time! This was such a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us, few animals to leave behind, an eclipse to discover, tons of time together just to talk and laugh and love. I am so thrilled that I went along with this trip, which was totally Seth’s idea!
It was different though, in an unexpected way. We are different, obviously – we’ve settled down on our lovely patch of land and set down roots to last a lifetime. We have two kids and a dog who need more frequent stops and safer lodgings than Seth and I ever did on our own. We had chickens, ducks, and guinea hens to hurry back to and care for, instead of just letting the journey last.
But traveling is different too. It feels different on the road. America feels different. Campsites for travelers (not merely vacationers) were few and hard to find. Traffic was overflowing highways, and even our beloved back roads were busy and less welcoming. I didn’t feel at home on the road anymore. And I realized just how different this country is than it was even 10 years ago. Everything feels restless and unsettled, everyone seems just a little more lost.
Our little journey was lovely, we were a little cozy clan on the road. The kids were amazing and Luba was such a good dog! My husband is always amazing and resourceful and he makes the whole shifting country familiar for me. But on the return drive, in Pennsylvania we talked about how much it’s changed, and how it’ll be a long while before we do something like this again. My home now is a steady place of birches and pines and wild-animals in the night. Brake-lights and busy streets are happily distant and I want them to stay that way. I’ve changed, we’ve changed, the world is changed.
We’re talking about our plans to become more rooted here, more tied to the land with our animals and way of life.. a little less ‘of the world’, I guess. And ‘family vacations’ were never something we planned on doing anyway. Still it feels a little sad..on our drive we saw glimpses of the old expansiveness – a motor-inn and some helpful and kind mechanics..I wanted to know more of them.