July always seems to meander along in the Midwest, with swells of heat and lazy days where the afternoon sun sparks a desire to nap in the shade. This is a time when many of us turn our thoughts to vacations from the daily grind, and very often, this means road trips. These motor excursions come in all forms and styles, can be long or short in duration, and can lead to anywhere the highway can reach.
Just gather the family or your best friend, pack a bag and some snacks, fill up the tank (or charge the battery) and head out. And if you need food for thought on your odyssey as interludes to car games, here are some big questions to ponder:
Which type of traveler are you? Are you a plotter or a freewheeler? Do you prefer your route to be charted out to the last rest stop, or would you rather simply jump in your vehicle and see where the road takes you? I think most of us lie somewhere in between these extremes.
While both of the above approaches to travel have their own merits, how you choose to plan, or not plan, your adventure can have an impact on your life. Do you have a 5, 10, or longer year-goal for your life carefully plotted, or are you guided only by impulse? Do you have expectations for your future, or do you prefer to live in the moment, embracing life as it comes your way?
While life is definitely a journey, and the destination is not always the main purpose, there is something to be said for planning ahead. There are benefits to spontaneity, don’t get me wrong, but having at least a few plans made can make a trip go much more smoothly. No one wants to arrive at a motel after a long drive and find there are no vacancies, or even worse, that you forgot to bring a toothbrush or a change of underwear.
In the same vein, while being spontaneous can lead to unexpected opportunities, a few life plans prepares you for the journey that lasts a lifetime, and can lead to the fulfillment of dreams and goals more lofty than visiting every diner mentioned on Food Network in the last year (that one’s from my husband.) It’s really hard to purchase a house, or save for retirement, for example, without making plans.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.”Robert Frost.
One of my all-time favorite poets is Robert Frost, and I am forever fond of his poem we had to memorize for seventh-grade English class, “The Road Not Taken.” How many of us, at the end of the day, wonder if we have chosen the correct path for us? Sometimes we can turn back, and try the other route, but other times we decide we’ve already gone too far to begin the journey again. So while it is easy to plan or not, a vacation, take your time when planning your life’s excursion; after all, it will hopefully last far longer.
As you cruise along the highway this summer, take time to think about the path you’ve chosen. Be it a quick trip to the nearest city, or an epic journey across country, only you can determine if you have picked the road that is right for you.
May all your travels be happy ones!