I feel so restless lately. The walls seem closer together,
and my days are getting shorter. Maybe I’m the one
getting smaller. . . . What am I looking for?
These words, written by Vinita Hampton Wright, might express your thoughts. Or those of someone you love.
Time to get outta Dodge?
“Just drive,” Hampton Wright advises. “Drive and munch and listen and watch the scenery go by. Feel the sensation of moving somewhere . . .”
Even brief getaways, she says, can move us forward when we feel stuck. Stale. Burned out.
It might be simplest (and cheapest) to ride public transit on a day off, or lunch hour, freeing our hands for felt tips and sketchbook or an adult coloring book. We could knit, daydream, or doze as life slips past.
Is there a window in your schedule this month for a road trip, or even an hour’s drive?
Maybe you’ve heard Bruce Cockburn’s song, “Driving Away” (click below, to hear).
“. . . the picture of the world that’s coming clear, driving away.”
New View, Fresh Perspective
Although travel-resistant, I return from our getaways with an altered outlook. I see more clearly where I’ve been, which helps me map out—or at least imagine—where I might want to go with my life.
Sometimes getaways offer a surprise opportunity to face an old fear . . .
The past weekend upped my “inner Took” quotient, from 7% to 15%. (“Zip-lining,” Dreamer says, “ranks 50%.”)
Though chronically altitude-challenged, I scaled
this primitive 32-foot ladder
made from slick tree boughs
up a 100-foot rock face
to visit Balcony House,
the amazing stone remains at Mesa Verde, once occupied by Ancestral Puebloans.
Tall ladders have haunted me ever since panic stranded my childhood self, for hours, on our garage roof. That ladder cast a life-long shadow over my mind.
At Mesa Verde, I did not look down. I lasered-in on each burnished rung. One step at a time. All else fell away (except me, thank God).
Moving forward, one simple act at a time
An epic ladder, a little faith, and the vacation spirit of daring helped me concentrate on each step.
Hampton Wright says that getaways help us “confine [our] concerns to what [we] have with [us]” as well as giving us “a change of scenery.“
Try occasional Hit-the-Road dates, she suggests: solo, or with friends; with or without a plan; with or without a GPS or map (let’s go somewhere beautiful and get lost together); with or without a theme (visit museums, or small-town diners, country churches, old graveyards, parks or fishing holes).
Getaways: Potential Supplies
Bring snacks. Favorite music.
Work? No. Hobby tools? Sure. Pack only those which enhance your appetite for discovery and relaxation.
- magnifying glass
- Musical instrument
- Audiobook. (For a week-long trip, try The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, narrated by Jim Broadbent.)
Wear stretchy clothes, comfy shoes. Prepare for weather changes. Or not.
Lucky hat, optional.
What’s stopping you?
Is there a “shadow-ladder” barring your way?
Might this be the time to face it, whatever it is?
If you take a getaway, I hope you’ll share . . .
Vinitia Hampton Wright, Simple Acts of Moving Forward, p. 29