Let’s Take the Long Way Home

Shoes by Valentino

Where I grew up, there weren’t many exciting options for teenagers. There were no movie theaters, arcades, or dancehalls. No ice cream parlors, skate parks or malls to wander. What we had to work with were rows of tree-lined forest, cascading waterfalls and empty dirt roads. And, most importantly, we had driver’s licenses.

My social life consisted of a few good friends “touring” back roads in our various vehicles. For fun, we drove around. Yup, you read that correctly. It was rarely about a destination because, hey, driving to a river gorge or to an abandoned fire road was not exactly that different or mind-blowing. Even so, we had some of the best times on the various rides we shared.

I now live in Los Angeles and hardly ever drive anywhere just for the heck of it. I avoid traffic at all cost. When I do have to face it, it’s a chore, not a hobby, something I do my best to get through without yelling, cursing under my breath, or, God forbid, hitting or being hit by someone. What used to be my personal mantra (it was even my senior year quote), “Let’s take the long way home…” is the exact opposite of my current mantra, “Get me the f#$ck home as fast as possible!”

I am struck with the age-old saying that it is the journey – not the destination – that we should be appreciating. Things that were so simple in our youth can become complicated in adulthood. There is always somewhere to be, something to do. These days, I can’t imagine having four consecutive hours to drive around and hang out. And that might be exactly what I could use right now.

This week, I’m making a commitment to put on a pair of driving shoes, get in my car, and just go. I’ll invite a pal, and we will intentionally “take the long way home.” And hopefully my friend will drive for a while so I can put my feet up on the dash, stare out the window, and allow my mind to explore the vast, unscheduled terrain.

I suppose sometimes we need to go “nowhere” so we can sit back and simply appreciate the ride.