I read recently that our days of carefree air travel might be coming to a close – prices skyrocketing, flight availability restricted, flying becoming something we do only when really necessary. In my world, this notion could have come as a major shock.
But this morning I arrived home from a 3000 mile road trip – the fourth such trip I’ve taken in a little more than a year. (You can read about this most recent one at cavortingkardias.wordpress.com) Before that, I’d done things like drive from Michigan to New England to see my parents. But nothing quite like this: getting in the car and driving for days to get from one spot to another.
Driving like this is changing me. My love of this country – of its beauty, its people, its mystery and folly – is on a sharp increase. My sense of potency and accomplishment is off the charts. And, most importantly, my feeling of independence is being nurtured beyond what I’m now realizing was a stunted state of growth.
It has to do with the freedom of car travel – the ability to turn right or left, to pick a route, change it, or just stop driving for awhile, all in response to the feeling of the moment. And it has to do with not being where anyone would necessarily be looking for me. In this world where we are videotaped, monitored, and tracked in so many ways, it’s a powerful thing to be just where you are, with no one particularly looking on.
So, I do send a prayer for the airlines industry – air travel has its place. And fuel prices do get the attention of any traveler. But right along side it I send a prayer of gratitude for the open road. May it always be there, and may we always be smart enough to answer its alluring call.