Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Been Drivin' All Night My Hand's Wet On The Wheel

Since I've never received a request to talk about the best trip I've ever taken (not THAT kind of trip, Timothy Leary-ites, I have no frame of reference for that), I figured I'd go ahead and write a post about it. I'm nothing if not receptive to my audience (Hi, Amanda!)

My father died unexpectedly on Valentine's Day in 1998. I was in my last semester of grad school and had quit my job two months before to finish this last semester full time, with a full load of classes. After my father died, I made countless trips to Virginia Beach to get my mom out of her house and re-settled in a friend's house and to take care of other things. On April 30th of that year, Tim proposed to me. I graduated a few weeks later. These months were a complete blur for me -- although I remember feeling raw and angry and insane. Talk about extreme highs and extreme lows and extreme stress.

(Wow! What does that depressing paragraph have to do with the best trip you ever took, Debbie Downer? Well, I'll tell you impatient-pants...keep reading...)

I had always wanted to take a cross-country trip and had toyed with the idea numerous times. Wanting nothing more than to get away from everything (like you don't know!) and because I was without a job that I had to report to, Tim and I figured that the summer would be the time that we might actually be able to do this. So, Captain Spreadsheet planned out a two-month trip -- beginning with us flying out to Santa Barbara for our friends' wedding and then us renting a car and driving a loop through the western states. He planned so that we'd be camping a lot, but broke up the trip with stays at hotels every four or five days. (He had accumulated lots of free nights in good hotels thanks to a lot of corporate travel.) He took a leave of absence from his job at the time and we spent two fantastic months together doing a lot of hiking and camping and sight seeing (such wonderful escapism). We took a ton of pictures and I kept a journal during our travels. To this day (10 years later) we still pull out the journal and read entries occasionally and reminisce about this trip.

What an escape. And what a great way to find out if you're compatible with your spouse-to-be. In two months, we put 10,000 miles on the rental car and were never apart for more than an hour or so.

I have dreams of doing this again at some point. Preferably in Europe. And preferably with a little less camping next time.

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