How strange and exciting a journey becomes when an unexpected detour pops up along the way. Isn’t this so much like life?
Most people read a map, plan a route and intend to reach a certain destination via a predetermined path. This is just plain common sense. However, what happens when our plans are dashed to the rocks due to unforeseen circumstances? Well, we must adapt and overcome uncertainty and forge ahead with an open mind and willing heart. This metaphor, though a bit of a cliche’, serves as a cheeky setup; a prelude towards the direction this blog has suddenly taken. I’ve suddenly pulled the wheel-hard right! A turn is due in part to personal circumstances as well as a deep intuitive hit.
A Totally New Route!
The initial vision in creating this blog came to me out of a sheer desire to travel the west. To photo its wondrous landscapes, and write about my experiences. This seemed and still seems simple enough, right? In fact, it’s so simple, it’s being done by too many bloggers. There are “miles”, so-to-speak, of written articles about traveling and they all seem to read the same. The same is boring, isn’t it? What do I mean by, “same”?
Almost all travel writers seem to follow the routine formula of orientation. The author aims to familiarize the audience with specific destinations. To fill in the “must-see and do goodies” along the way. Of course, the voice of a travel guide serves a very functional purpose. In reality, it’s a boiler-plate, templated, step-by-step road map. It’s someone giving us instructions to follow and humans need directions in unfamiliar territory. In actuality, this isn’t how life works and let’s face it, pre-packaged itineraries are boring! (I think of stuffy crowded bus tours where scripted guides drone on during “site-seeing” drives). Does this sound like the kind of reading you want to indulge in? No? Me either!
The Open Road of Ideas
Initially, my excitement to write about road trips throughout the west was to share powerful experiences with my readers. I do this not for recognition but as a gift to give people. For those who may not have the opportunity to see the west. I also have a personal desire to stimulate my readers to experience things from an entirely new perspective. Hence the “Art of the American West Road Trip”. I want people to get a sense of awe and viscerally feel the wildness of themselves and the land! I want people to touch their own expansiveness and raw beauty. We are the deep canyons!
This is a tall order. I thought, “how can I achieve this?” The answer to this question is what has brought me to an auspicious, detour! I have come up with a radically new idea. So radical, it might “scare off” some of my readers. Ready for the hard right turn? Here we go!
The West Most of Us Will Never See!
“It’s only when we have the courage to face things exaclty as they are, without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be rocognized.”I Ching
In some Native American spiritual practices, the direction of the west represents a deep place of introspection and of self-inquiry. The west is represented by the place where the sun sets, where darkness becomes the bear’s cave. A foreboding place where the unseen places we all tend to hide from become powerfully visible. The “darkness within” is where some dare to dance with the more shadowy aspects of the self. It’s the parts of the human journey where most of us fear to tread. It’s the dark, the sticky underbelly that often manifests in our lives in all sorts of unwanted dramas. What does this idea have to do with road trips of the west you may ask?
Journey Into the Soul Music List:
- Bob Marley-Running Away
- Tool- 46&2
- Taxi Cab-Twenty One Pilots
- Not About Angels-Birdy
The journey into the “underworld” of the deepest unclaimed parts of our selves is very much like a road trip. This journey has no maps or directions. The maps through the west, through the dark underworld, are more subtle. The intrepid journey within requires the use of more than our sense of place and destination. The directions on this road demand the use of all of our senses. This very personal bumpy road trip never ends until we “shuffle off this mortal coil”.
Most of us cruise right by our pain, our personal defeats, our losses, and the “ten-car pile-ups” in life. Often, we don’t even know when we’re in the underworld of the west. Many of us avoid these forgotten, remote, dirty dark roads of our soul and recklessly drive on. The west is a place where fear can consume us and out of our fears. We might have a breakdown in a very remote place, alone, and out of “cell range” in this place. Out of terror, we virtually leave ourselves in the dust, doomed to repeat non-working patterns throughout most of our lives.
How Do We Get There From Here?
I want readers to understand that it’s not my intention to get you lost in the wilderness of your soul. Instead, I will share how I utilize the metaphor of a road trip as a backdrop to my life. I want to write about how this has raised my awareness on many levels. On a literal level, I will write about real-world road trips. I will tell you how these journeys take me to deeper realizations. I hope that people can gain more insights into their lives as a result. It’s during actual road trips, I get to reflect deeply. It is on the road that I often touch the unseen, literally and figuratively. I then get to integrate the gifts that lay beneath the illusions. The malignant untruths that I have been running in my mind for over 40 years often reveal so much!
Take The Journey
I invite you to take this journey with me and let’s discover the gold that’s hidden beneath the layers. I dare us to look at the masks we wear in life! Let’s take the less maintained road to the mysterious destinations not yet experienced. Let us comment and talk about our journey and learn from one another. Finally, let’s reclaim the “western half” for the betterment of our lives, our communities, and the world! The true “Art of the American West Road Trip” is the journey inward.