August is the peak travel month in the U.S., the last chance to squeeze in that summer road trip or flight to somewhere exotic (definition: “anywhere but here”). Soon “fall” will return (two month before it actually does) and students will return to those humid classrooms that are (sarcasm alert) so conducive to learning.
Our daughter decided to go for it before her college career resumes. So far, her giant teardrop-shaped road trip has taken her through 17 states. And we’re thrilled for her.
But also a little jealous.
Trudy and I have travelled too little together. To be clear, I’ve travelled in comedy groups and as a speaker. In fact, I’ve been to 49 of the U.S. states (never got to Alaska), and half of Canada, eh. But professional touring is not vacationing: My sole experience of Montana consisted of the airport in Missoula, our hotel (where we also ate our meals), the concert hall where we performed, and the airport again the next morning.
Our daughter, on the other hand, has breathed the air in places I’ve merely blown past. Yesterday, she stopped at the Wal*Mart in Salina, Kansas. I had to laugh. When I was travelling with Mitch & Allen, we would read stats about the states we drove through. Western Kansas being remarkably flat and brown,* I informed Allen that its point of highest elevation was “the roof of the Wal*Mart in Salina.” “And it’s lowest point?” he asked. “The basement of the Wal*Mart in Salina.” But the truth is we never really experienced Kansas—not even the Wal*Mart.
So Trudy and I are hoping to come unglued. Let me rephrase that: What we’d like to do—which means we’ll have to plan for it—is take an extended trip to some place truly exotic, i.e. farther away than Trader Joe’s.
We’re thinking about an extended vacation (sorry, “holiday”) in our ancestral homeland of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland—places that are literally in our blood; maybe that’s why we love traditional Celtic music (the soul music of the U.K.) the way our African-American friends love gospel and R & B. Heck, we actually like bagpipes!
Psychologists say collecting experiences is far more conducive to living happy, meaningful lives than collecting possessions (which, Jesus points out in Matthew 6:19, are prone to moths and rust, anyway). Maybe our inherent need to “get away from it all” is God’s way of preparing us for the ultimate road trip.
Now, that’s one we’ll never want to come back from!
*Fact: They didn’t shoot the Kansas farm scenes in The Wizard of Oz in black and white. That’s just what color it is.