The call of the highway is always there for me. Fortunately, my wife seems to enjoy long road trips as much as I do. I’ve written about long road trips on a few occasions and as it’s the day before the first day a 3,000-mile drive, I am a bit nervous, excited and as my Dad would say ‘keyed’ up. I actually wondered about that expression and found this:
The etymology or origin of the phrase is from the limited movement mechanical toys like the clapping monkey, which had a coiled spring inside that you wound up like an old-fashioned alarm clock, using a key in the back.
A monkey huh? Ok I feel something like that, I guess. Working while living is better than living while working. And it’s something I’ve been doing for a long time. It’s kind of a thing. Managing ongoing projects while out of the office is one thing, being in the car for 8 hours a day (more or less) is quite something else. It’s very different when you are not on a true vacation. Work goes on and on. The way you work can change. Driving long distances does afford the opportunity for deep thought and the changing perspectives of the drive, I find, helps me look at things…differently.
I am surprised at my anticipatory excitement. It’s not like I haven’t done this for several years as this may be four or more years of long mid-winter excursions either west or south of New York City. Because I’ve had this trip to look forward to, the fact that it’s mid-January, mid-winter, has not really bothered me at all as I knew I was ‘Getting out of Dodge’.
Not everyone has the same appreciation for road trips as me. It’s amusing that even as recently as this week, when I mentioned that I was heading out on the road and would not be back in the area for over a month, people said – ‘You’re driving??!!’ As if that was an insane proposition. This is invariably followed up with ‘I could never sit in a car for that long’, or ‘Why not fly and rent-a-car?’. In truth you DO sit in a car for a long time and sometimes my back gets sore. Duh. Stretching and walking whenever possible helps. When I was 20 I could (and at times did) drive 16 hours a day by myself. I don’t do that anymore.
I think my apprehension/excitement is due in part to the uncertainty of the road. With today’s technology we are more secure than ever. Planning the route, deciding where to have lunch and or dinner in various cities across the U.S., finding a hotel on the road, are all so easily managed with our handy little smartphones. But there’s still some uncertainty. The car is fine, has been checked out, and should be fine for a 7,000-mile round trip. Of course, you can’t be 100% sure. Then there’s weather. Before we even leave, we have to consider that the weather on day 1 is not forecast to be good at all with snow and rain. We’ve built an extra ‘travel’ day in our schedule for that reason. It’s uncertain. That’s actually kind of exciting.
I look forward to the mornings on the road. I’ve always enjoyed driving out at 7AM or even earlier as the sun rises. It all kind of makes me feel a little pioneer-y, though a lot warmer than they were. Mostly I just like the idea that things for the next month or more will be different. I am not exactly sure how it will all work out but want to see how, and that’s what keeps me moving forward.
And for what it is worth, my clients can have confidence that I am thinking about their business all the time. Maybe too much of the time!