We are adventurous souls. I do believe this. And sometimes, we have no choice, adventure finds us. Sometimes it is adventure we’d rather not be involved in too. Life is that way. It happens. How we respond to it is our choice.
We can engage with courage and a sense of curiosity and self-reliance, or we can sit at the bottom of the mountain and cry at the steepness of the summit. Life is in the climb. Traveling gives us practice climbing. Traveling off road gives us tools and stories, experiences and love for tackling new and unknown life.
My life is a series of adventures, some I choose and others have chosen me. I live with chronic illness for the last twenty-five years. My son is an only. He is creative and thoughtful and adventurous too. He took his own path in school, basically unschooling and community college starting at age 14. It was a challenging and glorious adventure that I’ve written a lot about on here. Both my husband and I have sibling with disabilities, and this shaped us from a young age. We are caretakers. We’ve experienced house fire, death, mental illness, disabilities, surgeries, all the things that people inevitably face as we get older.
Facing these challenges and adventures head on, with courage is my dirt road journal. Because the simplest in life can be nail-biting and the most intense can be pure peace. Sometimes we get stuck, really stuck, and need to ask for help. Sometimes we can recognize that it is a short trip back to “normal” and just go for it. This blog is not so much about dragging our truck through the mountains, as expanding our mind and body by traveling to places off our beaten path. Finding our own off-road adventures to open our hearts and minds.
My road, in life and in the car, has had some serious bumps. Sometimes I’m surprised and horrified at how challenging and crazy life is. People go through some messed up shit. And mostly out of their control, out of my control. Stuff just happens to us. Life just happens. And we can keep on learning how to drive through and over the unpaved roads. Or we get stuck. I want to keep learning how to keep going. Sometimes that certainly requires being a hot mess. And believe me, I am a hot mess. Oh god, what a mess. But mistakes happen.
Adventuring off of my own beaten path has taught me to ask for help, and to value breakfast with coffee over sunrise. I have learned to be “thicker skinned.” I have learned self-reliance through exploring, testing myself, and trusting that the bumpiness eventually leads to something magnificent. Travel has a way of helping you see yourself in new ways like this.
And with that beauty comes the harshness of real life exposed, not manicured or painted over. Simple life exposed to face in all its forces. Life certainly winds around and gives it to you straight up. That is life in all its bumps and beauty.
Thanks for reading.
“I wanted to walk straight on through the red grass and over the edge of the world, which could not be very far away. The light and air about me told me that the world ended here: only the ground and sun and sky were left, and if one went a little farther there would only be sun and sky, and one would float off into them, like the tawny hawks which sailed over our heads making slow shadows on the grass.”
― Willa Cather, My Ántonia