Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It's the Trip not the Destination

I had about 50,000 air miles by the time I turned 6. Tough twin prop C-47 "Gooney Bird" miles back and forth over the Pacific. I knew what a barf bag was for before I could talk. I logged over a million miles pounding North America's highways delivering what America wanted. I went to 12 schools before I graduated from high school. I spent the first half of my life on the road. Never settled. I had just arrived or was preparing to leave and arrive somewhere else.

Fast forward 25 years. That life is gone. Now I get nervous when I am more than 75 miles from my home. I find the thought of flying completely ridiculous. Get in an airplane? No flippin way. I compressed a lifetime of travel into my first 28 years. I have no desire to live out of a suitcase again. I do not dream of Pina Coladas poolside at some beachfront hotel in Mexico. Give me a Sam Adams and a soft spot in the sun by the garage and I am a content and settled man.

If I ever travel again, it will be by bicycle. Hook up a trailer packed with a tent, some spare duds, tools and other gear and hit the road. This time I will not worry about arriving. It will be the trip not the destination. I will check out all those rusting roadside historical markers I used to pass at 65mph. "On this spot in 1745 James Bigelow killed himself a bar." I will take the time to smell the air, taste the local water and make some friends on the way. I will look for a Nehi soda pop in an ancient coffin cooler on a rickety wooden porch in front of a store named "Pop's Grocery". The Spanish moss on sprawling southern oaks will tell me which way the wind blows. And I will take their hint to heart and keep the wind to my back.