Diary of the Open Road: Day 10
To be fully honest, I would not consider myself to be the nomad kind, or much of a wanderer by nature. I know people who feel most at home when it is never the same place. And regardless of the stamps in my passport and as much as a part of me would like to be, I do not think I’m like them. I long for community and deep relationships, a physical place I can call home and always return to. In a culture that perpetuates us to feel like we constantly have to be moving and discovering something new, I’ve often found myself making choices that are not rooted in intention and purpose.
I’m thankful for the people in my life who challenge me in that. My Dad, in particular, is one to faithfully question my thoughts and plans (because I have quite a few crazy ones). He doesn’t make me feel unsupported, but rather, makes me ask myself the things I would rather avoid. And when he asked me what my purpose and intentions were for this trip, I didn’t know how to answer that immediately, so I defensively replied with, “because I can”.
I felt foolish saying that because in a way, it was foolish
I was speaking as if these experiences were an entitlement instead of a gift. I didn’t need a reason to pursue them because it was “my choice and my money”.
A few days ago, I got to meet Alec and Austin Rossborough, two brothers and talented artists in Columbus, Ohio. We had a great conversation about the culture of travel today. We are constantly bombarded through social media with photographs of wild places and it can be easy to feel like you’re missing out on all of the lessons and adventures life has to offer. I am fully aware that I am writing this from my road trip van in Texas and am currently in the midst of travel, but before you dismiss me as hypocritical, read on.
Austin and Alec challenged me with their perspective that is isn’t always the right choice for every person to travel at a given time, even though we are so often told it is as if it is the only way you can grow.
And although I see so much potential and value in stepping outside of your comfort zone and your regular routine, I don’t want to miss the importance of not losing sight of the purpose of this trip under the banner “because I can”. Yes, I’ve chosen to invest time and money into these experiences, and I believe they do hold a value that is outside of those two things. But this lifestyle isn’t realistic for me in the long run, and this is a unique time I may never have again in my life. To just let go of (nearly) all of responsibilities and have the freedom to create and experience with little sacrifice. That is is something to be thankful for. Not everyone has that same opportunity, I know.
And in light of that, I’ve spent some time thinking about the reasons for this trip. They aren’t anything life-changing, but going back to these every day, helps me stay present and not lose the wonder.
1. Learn to trust Jesus outside of my comfort zone
2. Have the temporary freedom to focus on personal work and growing my craft
3. Get to know my own continent
4. Form connections and relationships with other artists who inspire me
The more I have actually thought about it, the more I have realized this is a very ideal time for me to be doing this sort of thing, and I’m confident in my decision to pursue this right now. But ten days in, I realize it is quickly fleeting.
I can easily just go through the motions, but I don’t want to. I want to be purposeful about not only the reasons for why I travel, but and ways I go about that. I don’t want to take photographs of mountains and beaches just for engagement on Instagram. I don’t want to search through apps to discover the top five best places to get lattes, but instead discover such things through the locals. I would rather my list of “must sees” become my back up plan. I want to learn to love the backroads and the conversations with mechanics while my van gets fixed after an unexpected break-down. I want each day to be rooted in a thankfulness that I get to even be doing what I am doing. I know that alone will leave me more inspired and full of passion than any mountain I photograph.
(note: also very excited to photograph mountains)
These are simple thoughts that make a world of difference for me.
In other news, we are currently at Morgan’s cousin’s place in northern Texas. We had planned to only be here a night on our way to the west coast but have since decided to stay in this area for the next few days. So here’s to plans changing! The adventure continues.