Lightning Rod

The road is calling. I’m sitting, patiently, as the days tick down to my imminent departure. I’m not in a rush–it is freezing outside–but the reality is beginning to sink in. Endless possibilities emerge when one aims the nose of their car west on the highway. My plan remains to head to California, but what lies before and after that is unknown. And that fact alone is why “the road” is romanticized in countless novels.

My dad (pictured below) drives for Fedex. It’s a laborious job and not very glorious, but  he has endured it for over thirty years. I recall asking him one time what lured him to the job at a young age, besides just obtaining employment. He referred to the freedom of being on the road, not being confined to a building, and the variety of driving down new paths each day. Driving for Fedex may not be a vacation, but there’s still the independence that some desire.

This past summer I journeyed west, with an outline guided by festival locations, but inclusive of spontaneous turns and destinations as the trip carried on. I felt exultant, especially since I adopted a travel buddy, my now-girlfriend, mid-way through the trip. Experiences are better when shared. Nevertheless, one can not delay his trips or plans for company; people are too preoccupied with their lives. With that, I sought out alone, and it’s serendipitous what will occur when one follows their calling (girlfriend not guaranteed).

There’s the romantic, well-known term “free spirit.” I know it dates back to at least the 18th century, and probably way before that. Philosophers would idealize the freedom and curiosity yearned by one’s spirit, in addition, noting how the masses have cut of this instinctive nature in exchange for security. In order to activate this essence, one doesn’t need to travel, but can also be curious through other means: learning, studying, etc. Nevertheless, nothing triumphs experience. One can read all the books in the library–still enjoyable–but it will never surmount what was learned through meeting the world face to face.

As Ken Kesey once said, “I’d rather be a lightning rod than a seismograph.”


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