Later this week, my parents and I will be on our way to Chicago … it’s an 18-hour drive, but it’s one we’ve taken many, many times because the Illinois-Indiana-Michigan area is the hub of our family wheel. This trip is for a family reunion.
A grueling drive, yes, but it has its blessings; every road trip does. Do you know why? Because our car becomes a shuttle gliding through the delightfully incorporeal realm of imagination. Detached from our reality of home, work, and other quotidian routines, we’re given the opportunity to range. We see new landscapes, but we’re shut off from them by glass; it’s not like olden days, where people had to travel through open air, in contact with the world and constantly reminded of reality. (Which would actually be cool, in itself -- just look at everything you could learn!) We shuttle through untouched. The landscapes are peopled with individuals whose lives are as normal as our own, but with only a glimpse of their context, my imagination is free to build. We pass a grand house with a lush green yard, woods, and a pond, and I imagine how enjoyable must be the life of the family that lives there. Maybe they have lots of children who have many adventures there … what a good story that would make … or so my imagination goes. Of course, not all the things I see are so pleasant. I also think about travel books or novels whose plot is a road trip and how my own experiences compare.
When landscape-watching gets old, there are books and notebooks, the ultimate in imaginative living. This road trip I’m looking forward to reading a book about a Romanian Jewish girl (for Teshuvah research) and the second in a trilogy of books about a modern English girl named Charity Wentworth (partially for Adventure in England research, though it’s very much a pleasure!). So, while I physically journey to northern Illinois, I’ll also be “visiting” Romania and England. As for the notebooks -- and I love filling blank notebook pages -- there’s character sketching and plot planning for Teshuvah, maybe a short story to play with, and journaling.
My other favorite things to do to pass the hours in our safe shuttle are deep conversations, reading my Bible, praying, listening to instrumental music and to Bible teachings. Truly, for my family at least, a road trip is devoted to mind-building, which defines many of our most-loved pursuits.
Do you like road trips? What are your favorite things to do during one?
P.S. Since I’m going away for a while, I’ll should be back on my blog two weeks from today!