At the start of my senior year, one of my friends proposed the idea of a cross-country road trip in the weeks following our graduation. She said it on a whim during our Gen. Ed. Science class that we stalled taking until senior year, (God bless our souls) but our disinterest in the dissection of leachate gave us something to work on, and an hour later we had an entire itinerary filled with cities, dates, Air B&B’s, coffee shop recommendations, playlists, and our page were basically packed.
So, a few months later, it actually happened and before we knew it, we were in the care being sent off with a blessing from parents as they prayed:
“God, I pray that these girls would not just explore new places of your creation, but that they would explore new places inside of themselves, and in their relationships with one another. We proceeded to Starbucks for the first of many coffee runs, and we were on our way.
Our Destinations would be as followed:
Week 1 (The cross country part)
Palm Springs, CA
Week 2-3 (The Coastal part)
San Diego, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Morro Bay (San Luis Obispo), CA
Big Sur, CA
San Francisco, CA
After deciding on the route, my mom asked me why I wouldn’t just fly to California or the Grand Canyon and skip all of the desert towns and Texas gas stations, and I refuted out of this desire to experience this coming of age “On the road” experience. And I am so pleased with this decision because here’s the thing.
When we planned the trip, I guess the visionary part of me pictured some moment that I would rediscover myself while looking out at the peaks in the Grand Canyon or hear the audible voice of God while looking out at the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
When thinking through the trip, I always anticipated the dreamy places, but I no idea that the real magic would happen while sitting in the back of a rent a car for 12 hours stuffed with five girls and three weeks of luggage.
Before I knew it, the father’s prayer and blessing over us became true.
This trip forced me to pay attention to myself, to thoughts that I’ve neglected or pushed aside because when you are stranded in the middle of West Texas with no cell phone signal, you are left with three options: car games, thoughts, or running through the same playlist of offline songs… and one can only play “I spy” for so long or listen to Usher’s 2001 album so many times (other people may disagree, but when driving through the middle of TX, it’s not the vibe).
So… my default activity was thinking, sometimes to the point of annoyance because I wanted to escape my thoughts, but it was good for me in the long run.
I didn’t anticipate the significance that would break through the thoughts that would race through my mind during the stagnant hours driving past five hours of deserted roads on route 66 or that my highlight of the trip would be doing a Lectio Divina with my friends in the middle of a coffee shop in a small beach town when our plans got disoriented.
I realized very quickly that I place too much of my attention and expectation of what I think will be the BIG MOMENT rather than paying attention to the simple snippets of magic along the way. And I’m pretty sure these little moments will end up shaping much more than any picture in front of a famous monument. There is significance in the waiting, in seasons that seem to be moving at the speed of molasses where progress seems minimal.
So please, please please do not diminish the value of stagnant seasons, of pit stops on the way to the landmarks, because sometimes that is where the real magic happens.
P.S. If you have not entered into a permanent schedule and if you have the space to…. go on a trip. If you have no idea what you are doing, you have an amazing opportunity to do something wild and fun and crazy with your best friends before the next season starts!