I know that last time, I wrote about staycations, so forgive me if this post feels contradictory and/or redundant. But summer is road trip season, which has me reflecting on how fun it is to pack up the car and go exploring, despite my horrible sense of direction. Even with GPS and all the phone navigation apps, I can and do get lost. I read a news story a few years ago about a group of tourists who drove into the ocean because their GPS told them to, and I could completely relate.
For me, there are two ways of feeling lost: not knowing where I am, and not knowing where I’m going. Sometimes they coincide, but not always. Last week, I realized that I’m aware of where I am and what’s keeping me busy, but I’m really not sure which direction I need to be heading. I’m feeling lost in a different sense. The “what am I doing with my life?” sense.
Partly this comes from being overcommitted. You know, when you’re busy with a hundred different things and feel like you’re not doing any of them justice? It’s very destabilizing and is starting to make me stressed-out and grouchy. So, I decided I should take myself on a metaphorical summer road trip and was amazed at how framing my problem in this way immediately made me feel more in control.
First, I need to map my route. I’ll spare you the boring details, but this basically entails breaking down my summer writing goals into a series of achievable steps. That’s not so hard, right? Add in a couple of side trips and stay flexible for detours, and barring any major breakdowns, I will be much farther along than if I stay put where I am, spinning my wheels.
Next, I should decide what to take. In addition to my own works-in-progress, I'll throw in a couple of novels I’ve been wanting to read, a memoir written by a friend, and a complete compilation of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Wine, sure. (Sangria, maybe, as it is 98°F at my house today.) Chocolate, of course. And, hopefully, equal parts creativity and problem-solving.
Now, what not to bring. That matters, too. Taking a parka to Las Vegas in July, for example, is wasted effort and space. So, I'm sorry, social media. You don’t make the cut. I’ll check in once in a while so you know I'm alive and well, but you aren’t going to ride shotgun with me, sidetracking my mental energy. Same for you, online news outlets. Mindless scrolling through articles that somehow change every day but don’t change at all is not the best use of my time right now. It will all be there when I get back.
The point of this “trip” is to get my writing squared away, so it doesn’t matter than I won’t get much farther than my driveway. As my new blogger friend Karen of Profound Journey put it, writing is more an inner journey than an outer one. (Honestly, go visit Karen's blog if you haven't already. She will inspire you for all kinds of journeys!)
What would you pack for your metaphorical road trip? What would you leave behind?