Driving hundreds of miles allows for plenty of thinking time, and this brief blog shares some of the thoughts that have been on my mind the last few days.
My favorite thing about traveling is how it opens both my mind and my heart. All it takes is a few thousand miles, seeing new faces and places, for my understanding and compassion to deepen.
There’s a pandemic going on and I focused my travels on very low populated areas, and I took all possible precautions. The thing is, I would’ve chosen the same route regardless. Big cities are cool, but I personally avoid them whenever possible. The traffic is stressful and the pace is fast, and I’ve already spent enough years living that way. These days, I intentionally slow my roll (not easy for my high-energy personality) and take the time to BE wherever I am.
With the exception of one city, nearly everywhere I’ve been had a population of less than one-thousand people. I avoided most all interstates, and because of that I got to see a lot of beautiful country and small towns I never knew existed. The interstates have certainly made the USA more accessible, and it’s much quicker to get where you’re going if speed is your goal. I feel the highways are a kind of metaphor of how most people live their lives in modern society. It’s more about how fast one can do this, get that, go there, come back, and rush through the day so the entire scenario can be repeated again the next day, week, year, and decade – until life is over.
I spent years on that treadmill before I came to realize my life was getting close to being about half over, if all went well. I still work hard and get things done, but I have a lot less stress in my life. The key for me was living a more minimalistic lifestyle. I don’t have to have a big house, new car, fancy clothes, or the latest smartphone. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, unless they own you.
It’s not difficult to know if your possessions own you or not. If you spend more of your time working (often at a job you hate) to keep up with monthly payments than you do actually enjoying those things, then they probably own you. To clarify, I’m not talking about the basics like food and shelter because I know (from personal experience) there are times when those things can be hard to come by. I’m talking about living beyond your means, taking on huge debt, and then working your life away to pay for stuff. It’s just not worth it, but of course that’s my opinion.
I hope you’re taking the time to enjoy your life, and absorbing all the GOOD things. You wouldn’t know it if you based your views only on what you see in the media or the social networks, but there are still many good things about being alive. Life can be tough, and it’s always been that way, but there’s a way through if you look for it.
I have to get busy on Valerie’s book, finish my NIGHTWORDS book, and I’m still ghostwriting on a few projects! My focus for the next several weeks/months will be on doing a lot of writing!