Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2300 Mile PNW Tour | Field Notes & Travel Reflections

Hi Fellow Travelers,

Pic by James (above)
In 2007 We enjoyed a 2300 mile (3700.7 km) road trip through Washington and Oregon Central High Desert, the Oregon coast, and Yakama Nation and the Columbia Gorge.  This capstone post reflects on that series, or about people and place, and how together the two can teach about community and thriving.

I have reflected on this trip for years to come, and it gave me courage, joy, and reminded me of what matters most. I will tell you a secret: None of these musings matter save two (scroll to end):

Fieldwork for Starters

Pic by James (above)
At each town We stopped by the visitor's centers where senior volunteers, usually women, gave the skinny on the best places to see.  That with a good atlas.
Road Notes

Throughout We marveled at the cleanliness of the towns scenic byway.  You know you're in eastern OR when you drive by road signs that begged caution for ducks, geese, cows, deer, and even humans, but the signs progressively are shot to smithereens with bullet holes until you see a bright yellow new sign and know the end of its predecessor.  OR had just finished repaving US Route 26, one of our favorites to drive due to the dramatic scenery yet easy and laid-back feel.

We liked seeing through the trees as forests in the high desert have less density, contrary to what We'm used to in Seattle-area where forests grow dense with evergreen and deciduous trees and lots of thick and tangled ground cover.

Travel to Grow & Identity

We intentionally left our pro photography gear at home heeding the advice of a colleague who believed that doing so helps a person to relax instead of worrying about our gear melting in summer's heat in the trunk. in the past photographing people and places helped me to enjoy the experience, and alleviate anxiety I felt about leaving home.  For this trip We photographed with a digital HP and bought post cards.

As our aunt says, sometimes you have to experience something first to understand.  Ramage's (2005) readymade roles speaks to the value of an exhilic, or at least away-from-home, experiences, which help you to grow.  Sometimes We need to leave "home," or our place of origin that's familiar to us, to leave behind the expectations of others, to free ourselves from the habits of routine aka known as comfort zones, which can steal joy by "being in control." 

However, I neglected to realize that the loving presence of my spouse in God's grace gave me what I needed to experience all the joy I needed and wanted all along. Give thanks.

Healthy Travels for
Healthy Selves & Healthy Societies

I enjoyed being alive and healthy hiking and exploring the high desert open landscape with the sun on our face bid well our health.  I had suffered illness for a long time. James had supported me true and through.  We felt happy and fit, and We enjoyed meeting people and site-seeing along the way.

Healthy derives from holism, or to be whole.  Wherever you set out, set out to be whole and so redefine tourism as wherever go together there you are!  The scary reminder is that we're all just passing through to a permanent place. So I enjoy and savor our adventures and time together.  Traveling and thriving overlap, so keep your love in tip-top shape. Fill your journey with friendly and *loving* exploration.

In that way traveling generates a public commons; public parks and recreation, people, water, nature, transportation, memorials, environmental and energetic sustainability, animals or wildlife, prayer, interpretation, history, safety, weatherair, and the sun itself for a fun cause folds together as a public [ad]venture to me.  Breathe-in, Breathe-out as you go.

Have fun together! (Let go of serious!)

Flexibility & the Courage to Change Course

Originally mapped trip w/AAA instructions and everything (above)
Plans, as life, can change.  Perhaps travel's best lesson in adventure involves learning to flex with change. Am We flexible and courageous enough to change course? Originally planning for Yellowstone, the morning of departure We decided that We'd rather do a massive road trip of the Pacific Northwest.

Maintaining place and a sense of direction helps, but it's best to find peace first inside and with each other instead of forcing your circumstances to change. Go with the person you love the most, and be content that you have everything of value in full amazing, glorious, and perfect splendor: A person.

So refresh, regenerate, and rejuvenate. Explore! Find your art form, employ it for good, or go on vacation and travel! Oh, one more thing: Don't fear the bugs. Just admire them.

What does travel teach you?

Only two elements matter the most. Too much academic, too much overthinking, too much serious squeezes out what matters most.

Only two elements matter: You and me. Travelling reminds me of how at home I am with you. I love you, James. Make room for love wherever you go because you matter and are worth every second, moment, and mile.

Our travels taught me how much I cherished my spouse, how I valued other self-involved things too much, and how everything else I had busied myself with obsessive planning and drive paled and faded away. I squeezed us out with activities that separated my heart from my mind. Please forgive me. Do not take each other for granted, but enjoy and appreciate the moments. Loving God and my husband matters the most. Make the time. You have and do. I will. I face my greatest fear every day, and that fear drives me to learn to love you, God, me better and more.

The best part of this trip was the person: My husband. I grew into us as home. How much I love you and your company, and adore you, James! "Perfect love casts out fear" because intimacy makes us home with each other, and fear steals and threatens to destroy what we have built, can build, and will build (see 1 John 4:18-19). Please forgive me, and thank you.

I cherish my spouse wherever we go, whatever we do, whoever we were, are, or will be. Trust me when I say that nothing else matters. God and family make the world go round because "Let all you do be done in love" (1 Cor. 16:14).

In this loving way, and so many other loving ways, my spouse has helped me to overcome agoraphobia. We are here with God's help. Thank you God for James!

So when you think that traveling is about seeing the sites, remember that travel is really about connecting with the person or people you love. Loved Ones make the sites worthwhile. I love you, James.

As the song for our wedding dance, You and Me, Babe.

Updated and revised 2015 July 27 Perhaps the first honest-to-myself and best post I've written yet.

Ever Together;
Together Ever Enjoying;
Together Ever Exploring;
Together Ever Growing;
Together Ever Pristine;
Together Ever In Love!


Ramage, J. (2005). Rhetoric: A user's guide. New York, NY: Longman.