The Trip

I’ve come back to my “normal” life after two and a half weeks traveling the United States in a car.

What a mental shift that is!

I’ve visited the world’s largest buffalo in North Dakota, hiked into Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, explored the gardens of the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. I saw Antelope Canyon in Arizona, and the North Dakota Badlands. I’ve stood in Glacier National Park by the Canadian border, and El Paso, Texas, near the Mexican border. I drank “Knock-You-Naked” margaritas in Natchez, Mississippi; I ate a Philly cheesesteak sub in Philadelphia. I’ve seen Salt Lake City’s Mormon Tabernacle Church, and touched a Lego Storm Trooper in the Mall of America. There was the San Antonio Riverwalk, the North Dakota Badlands, Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, and Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

The more of the world I see, the more content I am with my life. I love coming back from a trip like that because seeing people from all over the country makes you realize how big the world is, and how small your problems really are. Things that stress you out at work, in the scheme of life, are usually not really serious issues — even when they feel that way.

There are four states left I haven’t seen, and I want to touch them all. When I have experiences in all fifty states, I want to take on other countries. I want Ireland and Italy, France and Spain, Scotland and Australia. I want every country I can possibly get.

You have to chase experiences. No one can hand them to you, put them in your lap with a nice bow and say, “Here, now you’ve experienced something incredible.”

You have to put your toes in an ocean on the other side of your country and FEEL that you are far away from home. You have to sit in a restaurant where almost no one speaks your language, and know that the world is bigger than the town you live. You have to stand on a cliff overlooking unbelievable rock formations and really UNDERSTAND the description “Hell with the fires burnt out.” You have to climb into the bed of a rattling truck and drive into a canyon, and listen when the Navajo tell you what the lights and shadows mean. You have to eat things you’ve never seen before, because locals always know what they’re talking about. You have to sit by a fire under the stars, and know you’ll never be HERE again. You can never return to THIS moment. Here. Now. This.

You have to chase opportunity. Take it when it comes knocking, but CHASE IT when it doesn’t. There is never a convenient time to take a trip. You will probably never have “spare money” for a vacation.

Do it now. Travel now. Try that thing you’ve always wanted to try, now.

Stop buying things and start buying experiences; you can never lose those.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” -Dead Poets Society