Hi there, I’m Danielle from A Nourishing Glimpse. I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Heather today! I first came into contact with THS last holiday season when Heather and I both proposed a gift exchange amongst bloggers. Since then: we’ve continued to keep in contact, I was lucky enough to meet her in person at the Healthy Living Summit this summer, and she was one of many that shared their excitement for my impending fall road trip across the United States and back. As I sit here with the snow falling outside my window, it’s clear that that particular adventure is over, and so, I’d like to inspire you to take one of your own…
- You’ll never have to say, “Oh, I always wanted to do that.” As of July 1s, I knew that I would drive cross-country by myself. From then on, it literally came up in every conversation I had with family and friends, and usually even with strangers. Their responses would sometimes contain jealousy, excitement, and concern, but it always included the statement above. No matter how nervous I was to leave on September 5th, it comforted me to know that I was doing something that others dreamed of, and thus no matter what happened, I would never regret it.
- How else will you be able to visit all of your favorite people in one great sweep? Having just graduated from college, many of my friends are now scattered across the country—some moved back to their hometowns and others moved to different cities for jobs or loved ones. Between my first bittersweet summer as a “real person” and the beginning of my first school year without school, I had a tough case of the post-college blues. I didn’t want to go back there, per se, I just wanted to go back in time and relive everything all over again. No big deal. What I realized is that more than the dorms, the classes, or the overpriced books, I missed having the majority of my friends in one place for 10 months out of the year. The road trip wasn’t a complete reunion by any means, but it allowed me to see most of them in their new or old homes. Plus, staying with locals allowed for a more authentic tourist experience no matter where I was. As you plan your own adventure, I don’t doubt that you’ll be able to reconnect with the same number of friends and family members, if not more.
- America truly is beautiful. Truly, truly. I’d been to the Grand Canyon (it’s absolutely breathtaking) and Florida (beaches, baby) by plane before. I’ve also been to a few airports in Texas and California. But as far as seeing those in between yet completely worthwhile places? I was all but unfamiliar. There is no better way to appreciate the American landscape than to drive across it. The Spanish Moss draped across the trees in Savannah, Georgia, the rolling hills and wind turbines in central Kansas, the mesmerizing sunset upon Santa Fe, New Mexico, the homes tucked into the lush mountains of Santa Barbara, California, their views of the Pacific Ocean, the canopies of Douglas Fir opening up to the Columbia plateau and later, the fertile Yakima valleys, while traveling east to west across Washington state, the vast, gentle plains of Montana, the vibrant trees and clear, blue waters of near Ann Arbor, Michigan—all of it made the long, otherwise boring drives, the pleasure of a lifetime. For the rare less visually appealing stretches, like that in eastern Texas, eastern Colorado, and central South Dakota, my many books on tape made all the difference.
- Smiling. New York City is a lot of things—energizing, overwhelming, diverse—but it isn’t necessarily a smiling city. It is teeming with people who know exactly what they want and where they’re going (or at least pretend to). They’re usually helpful too, if you happen to catch them for a quick question on the subway, but they’re not necessarily outwardly friendly. Those that live in cities in the southeastern United States however, are. It took some getting used to but it was refreshing to say good morning to passer bys on the sidewalk. In my experience there, daily life was slower, more relaxed, and full of smiles. Other regions were similar by comparison. And each distinct city or statewide characteristic constantly reminded me I was anywhere but home; they made me feel refreshed, not home sick. I realize, THS reader, that you’re all from different places across the country, and maybe even outside of it, and that you may very well be used to friendly strangers, but I’m sure there’s one or two qualities about other cities’ cultures that would stand out to every one of you. Trust me when I say that they’re worth discovering.
- If there’s anything more empowering, I haven’t discovered it yet. I too have insecurities but being on the open road, completely depending on my own physical and mental ability each and every day to get me from one place to another and explore the stops in between, eliminated most, if not all, self-doubt. It’s healthy to be proud of our selves and accomplishments and driving for such long distances in unfamiliar places allows for moments like that multiple times a day. For every wrong turn I made or ticket placed on my car (to be honest, it was only one, but still), I drove almost 9,000 miles in 44 days. I may have come right back to where I started, but I was in an even better place when I returned than when I’d left. For an otherwise ordinary young woman, I’d say that’s pretty darn extraordinary; it’s proof that we really are capable of anything we set our minds to. No matter how long or far you’re going, you need to take that road trip you’ve always dreamed up. It’s an inconvenient way to travel, it’s awfully time consuming, and it is something that will enrich your life, and perspective, forever. Go.