The Road Trip is a State of Mind

After many years on hiatus, we’re reviving LastGreatRoadTrip.net to catalog, reflect on, and share our latest adventures!

7 years ago it was all too easy to slip back into the busy trappings of everyday life and backseat the retelling and reflection on our travels.  The official end to the post-PhD road trip was a slippery one, originally coming back to New York City to spend New Year’s Eve with my brother, and to prepare for a bio-sensing workshop I was teaching at the MIT. Our complete expectation was to stay with my brother for a month, during which time we would reflect on our nearly year-long road-trip, and intentionally choose the next place where we would plant our roots and build community. As happens, however, being back in New York one opportunity lead to another and before we really knew what hit us Erica and I each had jobs, I had a commission for a large interactive art installation and we were bopping around between open rooms in friends’ apartments, staying in 7 different apartments in 6 months. At some point we both realized we were fighting a battle that was already over and relinquished our fate to rejoin the sedentary life in New York City. Although the last 7 years in New York have been some of the best years of our lives, that 2010 day when we unpacked the van into our Harlem apartment we both sat together in the back of the van and wept. I’m not sure why, or why I still feel sentimental when I think about that day, but I guess it’s because we both knew that we were corking one of the most special experiences of our lives.

Fast forward to 2017. Since the apocalyptic drop-off of Last Great Road Trip blog posts on December 24th, 2009, we’ve been on many great journeys across multiple continents. And although we’ve often found ourselves remarking how “it would be great to blog about this trip”, we always finish the trip and somehow the wash of new experiences is flooded by the priorities and minutia of daily life the moment the trip ends. Some pictures get posted to a Facebook album and drives up a storm of likes in the frenetic stream of scroll-scroll-click-scroll. But the memories slowly fade and there’s little time to reflect on how those new pieces fit into the broader context of our lives. As life goes on our responsibilities tend to grow. More and more time is dedicated simply to the upkeep of those responsibilities and our big life decisions get more and more intertwined. It gets harder and harder to put aside the daily minutia to enjoy each moment, find the time to reflect on our experiences and integrate them into intentional life choices. And as I look back over our previous journeys cataloged here, I realize maybe that’s part of the magic of road trips — the feeling that you’re back in the driver’s seat of your life.

As we head into the next era of our lives, I bring with it a renewed commitment to blog about our adventures. I don’t know what journeys yet lie at our doorstep, but I remain committed to reflect on each as an opportunity to venture forth into the rest of our lives.

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