We’ve been on the road for four days now, taking some lovely side trips but in general heading for our son’s home in southern Arizona. We should complete that final leg of our trip tomorrow. Since we have not yet found the used motor home that will be our future house on wheels, we have been driving our faithful Subaru packed full of our stuff, staying in budget motels, and eating out of an ice chest. It’s been fun, but tiring. I have noticed several things:
- I have noticed that as a culture we are in a tremendous hurry! Any speed limit sign seems to indicate minimum speed rather maximum speed. I’m an older person now, the sort that I used to pass with disdain thinking, “Come on gramps, get a move on.” But that older man may have been a sage, looking at me and thinking, “Oh, son, what in the world is your hurry?” It is not being older that has slowed me down. I am letting go of the cultural imperative to speed through the trip for the sake of the destination. I am learning that the trip is the destination. The drivers who ride my bumper and rush past me are not bad people. They are poor souls unconsciously caught in the paradigm that bigger and faster is better; that if a vehicle is built to go 90 mph, then it should go 90 mph. Sigh. Driving the speed limit or a bit under it may actually be an act of social protest; of cultural sabotage; of mindful rebellion; of questioning the authority of speed and urgency. Who knows, I might start a movement. There is a “slow food” movement, why not a “slow moving movement?” Obstruct the cultural machine! Go the speed limit!
- I have noticed that there are still countless areas of beauty throughout the western states; small county parks, state parks, national forests, national landmarks, and even national parks – though national parks have become victims of much the same crowding, hurry and urgency as the freeways. I am eager to find our house on wheels and have the ability to sit for weeks at a time amidst the seldom-visited beauty of this land.
- I have noticed that it is very difficult to remain mindful and conscious in the midst of travel. The “destination complex” takes over and life becomes about going from one place to another. Fatigue dulls the attention and the conditioned mind slips into the spaces, generating fearful thoughts. Rest breaks throughout the day are important, and space at the end of the day for decompression is essential.
- I have noticed that a sense of gratitude is forming within me for the lessons I am learning so late in life. Freedom, simplicity, and joy are not pipe dreams, they are waiting for us to wake up and step into their presence, regardless of circumstance.
The revolution is going to take so many unique forms. Look for your own part to play. Obstruct the machine! Disobey the cultural rules! Do the unexpected! Step off! Be simple, joyful, and free!