We feel it the second we escape from the crowded city and break free into wide open rolling hills, speed down long stretches of highway flanked by golden prairie grass, and wind between terrifying, yet at the same time comforting mountains towering above.
We feel it when we find ourselves standing in a place we’ve never existed, but somehow feel right at home in the unfamiliarity of our surroundings. This feeling that rises from deep within us spreads to our faces bringing the corners of our mouths to a cheerful grin, causes our hearts to swell and minds to race with dreams of all that’s to come, is none other than freedom.
The freedom of the open road is like no other. Time spent on the road whether it be for hours or days, by sun or moon, in favorable or unfavorable conditions, teaches us patience and understanding. We cannot so easily leap from one end of the country to another but must slowly take in and adjust to the landscapes and ways of life as they come upon us.
We stumble across communities that inspire and, at times, may even humble us. It is impossible for our perspectives to remain stagnant, for our minds to remain closed, for our eyes to remain fresh behind rose-colored glasses. The open road brings along its own struggles, but the rewards far outweigh the obstacles in the road.
I have always been drawn to road trips over plane flights. A small part of me is afraid of missing out on sights unseen by passengers in the clouds, but even more so, I simply want to experience it all. The hardships and delights alike are welcomed. I have only just begun to roll over the pavement of the thousands of miles of road stretching all across the country, through sardine-packed highway lanes of Los Angeles and desolate back roads of Nevada - I embrace each with a full and grateful heart. I am right in the center of where I want to be, down below with every walk of life.
As I look around at what we have become as a society, it doesn’t take long before I come to realize we have fixated on efficiency so much as to rule the process of pleasure as an inconvenience. The eager traveler tells himself happiness lies at the destination point; how quickly can I get from point A to point B?What the traveler fails to realize is little growth stems from jumping straight into paradise from a mundane life.
We should, given we have adequate time and freedom, seek to endure the unseen landscapes and ways of life that, at times may take our breaths away and other times leave us feeling unfulfilled.
Hitting the open road is all a part of the process for seeing this planet and its inhabitants in a form so raw and real, we cannot help but get caught up in the simplicity of it.
The steps to becoming more environmentally conscious and sustainable require a certain mindfulness and recognition that can take time to adapt to and develop! Each small change makes a difference and here 7 you can start practicing now.