I feel hemmed up at home. I’m not a prisoner, not a dog on a chain, just a guy who is tired of Netflix and too inept to do most home repairs.
Given other people’s circumstances, it seems like a silly complaint, but here I am complaining anyway because during this global pandemic, I miss traveling more than anything.
I’m not missing the road solely because I can’t go anywhere. The time of year has as much to do with it as anything else. I work a lot during February and March, so we usually celebrate the end of me not being at home much with a long weekend somewhere – a concert in Nashville, a ball game in Atlanta, a museum in St. Louis. That’s my ideal trip.
I’ve never been anywhere I didn’t want to leave after four days, but I love spending the weekend somewhere new.
I don’t care where we’re going. I just love to go.
I love packing the car up with luggage and chargers and snacks that almost never get eaten. I love looking at Yelp for the best places to eat along the way. I love waking up at three or four and drinking more coffee than usual. I love seeing my wife asleep in the passenger seat and my son in the rearview mirror.
I love being somewhere new when the sun rises.
Some of my best vacation memories have nothing to do with the place I went. They are memories of what I did going or coming. I read Stephen King’s “Insomnia” on the way to South Carolina with my mother and siblings. I have a vague recollection of the ocean, but I remember that book like I finished it yesterday.
These days I can’t lie in the backseat with a book, but I can set the cruise and turn on a podcast. I have spent many miles listening to “This American Life,” “S-Town,” and “The Dollop.” Joe Rogan has kept me occupied with conspiracy theories and ancient alien discussions. I have heard so much of Theo Von that I catch myself talking like him.
Want to go somewhere? I’m in as long as we can listen to podcasts.
When this is over, and it’s safe to be anywhere else, we are headed out. Maybe Mexico, maybe Louisville, maybe Gatlinburg – but we will be somewhere. It will be good to be back in a restaurant or back at the mall, but more than anything, I want to be back on the interstate with the world waiting before me because “The joy is in the journey” and “The road to paradise is paradise.”
Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.