Returned to Ohio after 8,700 road miles and 5,000 air miles.
The rental car’s tires melted outside of Houston. Bats swarmed under a bridge and over treelines in Austin. A Texan prison guard warned of imminent danger in New Orleans. Hundreds of new border patrol vehicles sit collecting dust in parking lots along the highway while 1991 Chevys rush across interstate ten with hunched over Mexicans in the back thinking of good days to come. The nearly 1,000 mile drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Austin, Texas was a pleasant struggle against ophthalmological exhaustion. Tiny deer and the occasional coyote scamper along the 80 mph highway.
Every place is the same, as are the people and things that fill the void between landmarks. You bring you wherever you go. The mystic quality of travel is that you will be able to learn more or understand yourself better. The “what do you want” will be answered. Anyone who’s been there and back knows that concept is rubbish. It does not take a thousand miles of wandering to find yourself. Those who disagree know themselves enough to believe that whatever they are doing is right and true. And there is nothing wrong with that. But to believe you must go somewhere or experience something or simply travel aimlessly to find that ultimate answer is recipe for disappointment and confusion. Still, there is the rare instance in which you may return from your wandering and realize how fortunate you are in the grand scheme of 7 billion people on Earth. Create one of those gratitude lists and smile.
People have made their way to just about every place in this world and beyond only to discover that salvation lies elsewhere. It is amazing how open travelers are with strangers, yet these same talkers find it nearly impossible to share the same sentiment with their neighbors back home. The world is a big place and we all have a right to experience it as we wish. Then there’s that next place…”We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” The other things are often forgotten, but it all goes hand in hand. How do we learn? What’s next?
After nearly 9,000 miles of road travel around the mighty USA, the one constant is that there is something here worth fighting for. There is something everywhere worth fighting for and depending on who you are, there is significant differences in opinion as to which place is worth most. Just like people, at least in theory, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” places hold the same truth. Home can be on a volcanic island, an abandoned town cut off by mountains and distance, an urban condo, a shotgun house in New Orleans, or the road itself. America must remember itself. American people can choose to go places and do other things for the mere challenge. Home is America. America is home. The greatness always comes from the people and is the responsibility of every caring citizen.