Today I’m doing two things I don’t often do in my newsletter.
The first thing is writing one of these types of posts. Substack calls them threads. The idea is to write something short that encourages discussion. So that’s, like, a question, I guess? Not a rhetorical question like that, though.
The second thing is asking you to help spread the word. With the large influx of new subscribers recently, we’re getting perilously close to a big milestone. I mean, not big in the grand scheme of things, but big to me in my little world that I’m incredibly grateful you’re a part of.
Anyway, please press this big blue button or just forward this to someone who you think would like it.
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Okay, now onto my question for you (with a bit of preamble beforehand).
I don’t have a full-fledged piece ready this week because I’m out in Las Vegas visiting my family, and I’m sorry but family always comes before this newsletter. It happens to be exactly a year since my dad was put on hospice care and we were out here visiting then too. At that time, I published a piece that I was able to read aloud to him and my mom and I later adapted for the eulogy I read at his celebration of life event last summer:
This time around, we made the drive during the day and it went about as smoothly as we could’ve hoped for, besides hitting a small bit of traffic as we got into town and my three-year-old daughter Em being pretty much over it the last half hour or so.
With COVID chilling out for a while and vaccines becoming available for kids under five (fingers crossed), we’re hoping we can make some more road trips this year. We love road trips and it’s been too long since we’ve been able to explore new territory.
Alright, so my question to you is: What’s the most memorable road trip you’ve ever been on?
I was an only child. Now I am an empty nester. I hate being alone. Last year I bit the bullet and drove from Sonoma to Seattle to visit my niece who is going to college at Seattle University. I drove up highway 101 all by myself. Made it a 2 day trip with an overnight in Oregon. It was stunningly beautiful. I listened to music I loved and learned to enjoy podcasts. Would I have rather gone with someone else, absolutely! But I’ve decided I can’t stop adventuring. I’ve gotta get out and go at it alone!
My most memorable road trip was pretty recent. I did use to go on road trips with my family when I was a kid, but those were usually never about the journey and almost always about the destination: I was an impatient kid and didn't really care for the landscapes and good conversation, as a kid does. I did partake in some other family road trips with my parents in my late teenage years (which were great times by themselves) but they've been shadowed by some very deep cracks that would follow in the relationship I had at the time with my parents. So, the most memorable road trip for me was a short one, to an adjacent city, with a friend I had met that very day, in a country I had set foot on for the first time the night before. This friend was one of my language exchange partners on the internet before I moved from India to France, and he offered to visit me when I actually made the move to France. For some reason, in his presence, I just felt calm and peaceful, which is something that happens very rarely to me. At the end of the road trip, we climbed on top of a very high cliff, overlooking the Mediterranean sea. It surely made my day, and made me feel less alone in this new world.
I feel like there were a ton of fun ones in my childhood that are a bit of a blur now but two in more recent memory stand out:
- One in Iceland going from Reykjavik to Vik. It was just a scenic masterpiece and despite it being like 15 degrees, just couldn't get enough of the views the entire time.
- One in August of 2020 from San Francisco to Seattle - it was only with one other person but we spent almost fourteen hours in the car together, ended up going through all “The 36 Questions that Lead to Love" (spoiler alert, we didn't fall in love lol) but also spent a lot of time talking through the future, friendships, childhood. Really love the roadtrips where you can be with someone who feels like a complete stranger and really unpack so much of your life with them...
When my kids were 16 and 14, we flew from Philly to Las Vegas, rented a big-ass SUV, and rolled for the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, and Mesa Verde. All along the way we were listening to Lyle Lovett’s compilation Step Inside this House, and Lucinda Williams’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, and I was reading Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. Great works of art, all, including those national parks. It was epic travel, and I’m so grateful that we were able to experience it all together.
Hey! Thanks for engaging your followers! Best road trip ever was 6 years ago. 10-day cross country trip from Arizona to Maine with an old friend, who commented that I had missed my calling as a travel planner. Stops included: Garden of the Gods in Colo Springs; Santa Fe, NM; Mt Rushmore & Crazy Horse monument, Motown Museum in Detroit (and a tour of downtown); Niagara Falls (Canadian side). Topped it off with a killer indie music fest in Vermont. Stay tuned, we’re on the road again this summer.