It has been a very, very long time since I took a trip alone. I had a few solo drives from San Diego to San Francisco and back about six to eight years ago to visit my best friend and my mother, who both lived in the area at that time. I have always enjoyed that drive. It takes about eight hours, but it can be incredibly beautiful if you take the longer and more scenic drive up the coast. About ten years ago I drove from San Diego to New Orleans to stay with some family and celebrate my recently achieved 21 year old status during Mardi Gras (whew, I am thankful to no longer be in my early 20s!). Back then I had such a liking for my time on the road and the solitude that driving long distances brought. That of course was during my Kerouac phase. I’m sure in my young, impressionable mind I thought I was super adventurous for driving eight hours in the car and had visions of partying with Ken Kesey and the like. Oy.
While this time I wasn’t really alone, after four hours (much less, six, eight, or ten!) sitting on your butt in the car, passing off toys, crayons, crackers, reciting five little monkeys, and listening to ‘In the Mood’ by Glenn Miller on repeat for two hours straight (seriously, that is her favorite song–the only song!), the moment she fell to sleep I felt so alone. Three hours, driving through the flat desert land of Arizona, a sleeping toddler, and no laundry to fold, no dishes to clean, no dinner to start, and no dogs to walk, a lot of thoughts can occur. Not to mention, I couldn’t crank the Blondie and sing at the top of my lungs like I would have done on past solo road trips when these lingering feelings of boredom or lonesomeness started to creep in. It was an odd sensation, and one I truly hadn’t experienced in a really, really long time. My mind was so free, I had real, uninterrupted thoughts. I had thoughts of joy and thoughts of doubt. I thought about everything I have, and much more that I don’t.
In the end, I realized how thankful I am for my busy toddler/mama life. Most days I am so consumed with our simple goings on, that these feelings of self doubt and thoughts of “the bigger picture” don’t really take up much space in my mind anymore. I have always been of the opinion that living a more simple life is the true road to happiness. Simple routines, less technology, a little time alone, and some amazing meals can real work wonders on your soul. This trip truly reminded me how important it is for me to work towards simplifying all aspects of my life.
While we were visiting I truly fell in love with the small town of Taos. Here we are at the Rio Grande bridge with my beautiful sister, and our amazing family friend Chee. They (along with my mom) showed us such an incredible time, small town style, and I loved every minute of it. I am longing to return again soon.