Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lessons Learned on the Road

Over the years I've been on many road trips. Let's see, there's the one to that cabin in the woods; there's the family vacation; there's the three-day work trip; there was even the one that had me chasing a burger across state lines. These trips may have had different objectives, destinations and participants, but the time on the road was spent in some similar ways, so much so that I've been able to formulate a few tips for life. Here are three road-trip situations and what I've learned from them.

Scenario One: It's good to know the exact route to where you're going. Most road trips end in a much anticipated destination: a favorite lake, an amusement park, a secluded campground, grandma's house, a stretch of beach. Thus the time spent in the car seems to increase in proportion to the distance travelled from home. This equates to one mile feeling like five and the inevitable "Are we there yet?" questions. Therefore, knowing the route to your destination is crucial, as adding even the slightest amount of time to an already long trip will be unwelcome news for everybody in your car.

Lesson Learned: The same can be said of life. Knowing how we get to where we're going is the most important part of getting there. Without specific directions -- and then following those directions -- we add time driving that could be spent at our destination. Also, if we wander too much, we might not get there at all.

Scenario Two: Sometimes the sound of silence is golden on a road trip when the conversation lags. At those times it's best to just be quiet and live in the moment. Let the hum of the road and the passing landscape be enough. Driving is a perfect time for thinking. Spend some time mulling over the last good book you've read or how you want to make this trip better.

Lesson Learned: In life sometimes it's a good thing to just sit and be. That's it. Nothing more. Just be. See if something unexpected comes your way in such times ... like an observation or a novel idea or something you forgot about another passenger in your car.

Scenario Three: Bathroom breaks are important. Although I may have the ability to drive 500 miles without a pit stop, other riders may not be so gifted. Not pulling over for a break can cause angst, discomfort and considerable tension for others in the car. Thus, no matter who asks for the break, it is always good to try and accommodate your passengers.

Lesson Learned: In life I too must stop and take a break. Each day I need time away from my tasks to renew and refresh. Every week I need a day or two to recharge my battery. Yearly, I need time to disengage from my work routine and find something different, something entirely pleasurable to do. So taking breaks is good, even if it's an unscheduled break taken at somebody else's request.

There are several more lessons I have taken away from road trips. Among these are always carry a first-aid kit; bring along twice the amount of cash you think you'll need; watch out for the other guy; gas gauges are important; and if you miss the turn, don't panic!

But the most important thing I've learned from the road is this: take time to enjoy the view and the company you're with. After all, a big part of any asphalt journey is the time you spend on the road.

No comments :