a little over a week ago, i started the first leg of soultrip – my name for this roadtrip that i’m taking from my hometown in the midwest to seattle, where i’ll be living when this trip ends. (you’ll notice that it also doubles as the name of this blog.)
i spent the first nine days of this trip crashing at my siblings’ places – first my brother’s and then one of my sister’s – and today was my first day on the road in the truest sense.
what i’ve learned so far is that kansas is really wide; i’ve been in it for what seems like forever. it’s not flat though, or at least not all of it is, and as you go farther west in it, you start to see these trees that look like they’ve been transplanted from a swamp somewhere and aren’t gonna make it. i think that’s what they’re supposed to look like though because people line their driveways with them, which is a thing you do with purpose. they provide no shade – because they don’t seem to have leaves? or they only have a sorry few which appear to be sloughing off – and they really do look like they’re gonna fall down dead on you so overall i’m not sure i understand the decision to use them as driveway décor, but as it’s not mine to understand, that’s cool.
it’s been a beautiful day for a drive though: sunny and marvelous, windows-down temperature and manageable traffic. i love driving more than pretty much anything else and the freedom i have to do this trip however i want to is both exciting and calming. i can drive for however long i want each day and take whatever route i want and grab some wifi wherever it’s available whenever i want. before i left, i played the “if you knew you were gonna die, what would you do before you did?” game with myself and discovered that i would do exactly this. which feels kind of like crossing over into whatever the opposite of the twilight zone would be: the place where everything is good and sweet and soft to the touch.
i have wanted to go on a cross-country roadtrip since i was maybe 19, if not younger,and i’ve tried unsuccessfully to plan several. those plans always included travel companions, either in the form of friends or a german shepherd that i have yet to own. a solo roadtrip was always too frightening for me to consider – until my life caught on fire last year, at which point a roadtrip across the country on my own became a significantly less terrifying option than staying where i was. however, in the last days that i spent at my sister’s house before leaving this morning, i started to feel fear lick coldly at my insides over this trip. it is, after all, a big (and somewhat risky tbh) endeavour.
the fear was surprisingly short-lived though. now that i’ve spent the day driving down a two-lane highway, surrounded by semis and strange trees, the trip just feels like the thing i should be doing. i feel safe and alive and capable when i’m behind the wheel and i want this in a way it’s been hard to want things in these past several months. and, god, how amazing it is to get to do what you want.