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4.28.2013

GO WEST YOUNG MAN


Travelling 1800 miles westward across the country for a move, I was struck by the ease of travel .  Easy I realize is a relative word to what you are thinking in comparison to.  But despite even a comparison to earlier more rugged times of travel in history, hopping in a car with the capability of 75 mph was like being a giant and fighting a 3 year old kid – no effort.
 
My mind wandered as we drove.  What would it have been like to travel 1800 miles to the promise of your own plot of land, possible uncharted riches, or just to fulfill a deep sense of adventure in the year 1840.  There was no I-80 or I-70 traversing the country.  There were no paved roads, or even really roads of any kind, GPS’, or Rand McNally maps.  There were no Subways, Hampton Inns, or Panera Breads.  You couldn’t go from Elkhart, IN to Prescott Valley, AZ in 27 hours. 

Did those Wild West travelers merely have a burning desire to see what they had heard might lay out west?  Did they want to see it to believe it?  Even having nothing to compare their horrendous mode of travel to, 1800 miles on the back of a horse or the plank board of a covered wagon would have been hell.  My ass hurts in the car at about hour 2. 

If you timed the length of the journey wrong, the conditions that you would encounter, disaster was at your door.  History proves thousands lost their lives on the same route I was travelling for a new job move.  If weather conditions didn’t cause them to be stranded and perish, disease ran rampant.  It was far more than a weekend hiking and camping trip.  The journey east to west was months and months.  It was brutal, life-changing and in some cases, fatal.  That wasn’t lost on me as I sat in our Rogue jamming to music travelling at speeds of 80 mph on paved roads with my phone’s GPS speaking the directions to me.
Someone always paves the way for others.  I was grateful for those fearless spirits whose quest made possible the life that I led, the ease in which I travelled. 

I declared to Doug, “I would have made a great pioneer.”  He smiled and agreed that my gutsy, tenacious, unrelenting spirit would have served me well in the mid 1800’s.  He also agreed that I probably would have broken cultural standards of dress.   I would have worn pants and travelled with cowboys.  I roared in laughter at the picture of myself in the mid 1800’s.  Thankful I was to though have actually been born in the era I was.
I think I might have a bit of a pioneering spirit in me.  Ready I am to take a risk, to step out of a comfort zone, to believe that things I have not yet experienced may eclipse even the things I have already experienced and know.  I suppose I figure there is only so much time we are given to live a human life.  I don’t necessarily want to waste it.

Tired I was in the car from the weeks of chaotic pushing and shoving that leads up to any move.  It really was the first time I had just sat.  That is a dangerous thing to do – to stop.  All the fast paced life and stress now seemed to slam up against my stopped body.  I turned to Doug in the car as he sang along to “Beautiful” by James Blunt, “I think it might be better to never stop, to keep running and shoving myself forward because when I do it all seems to catch up to me and wallop me!”  He knows all too well my fast paced mind, body and spirit, “Babe, that’s a faster way to death.  In this case, fast isn’t good!” 
I laughed on I-40W going 75 mph at mile 1300.

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