As I type this I am coming up on the end of another road trip. This one has taken me from Minnesota, to Western North Dakota, back up through the center of North Dakota, into Manitoba Canada, over to Kenora Canada, and finally back into Minnesota where I will catch a flight home. When the rental car is turned in, I anticipate close to 2,000 miles will have been driven in about five days!
I really fell in love with road trips during 2011 when I was doing the 1 Year 1000 Challenge. Doing a 1000 things in a year required a lot of changes in scenery. During my 1000 Challenge adventures I really discovered a love for the open road and an appreciation for all the beauty I could see as part of it. Rather than flying from one city to another and then staying in said city, a road trip allows you to experience all of the "in between" stuff; the stuff that is typically just flown over.
The cool thing about the "in between" stuff is that is usually the natural (nature) stuff, the stuff I really enjoy!
I have been blessed to see some amazing buildings, architecture, skyscrapers, and statues. I can appreciate them, I enjoy taking photos of them, but few leave me with that "WOW!" feeling that our natural world does. Herein comes the road trip appeal.
I cannot begin to tell you how many mountains, lakes, rivers, bodies of water, beaches, skies, sunrises, sunsets, trees, plants, and animals I have seen. No matter how many I see, I still find my breath being taken away and I still find myself saying, "WOW!"
There is such an amazing world out there filled with so much beauty waiting to be explored.
Not only that I love getting to meet new people and seeing how different people live and having the opportunity to experience local customs and culture that are different from my day to day life.
Driving through North Dakota, a place I had been told was not the most exciting, I found myself marveling at the lushness of the green grass and the cleanliness. I would drive for miles and not see a piece of trash on the road. I'd watch as the clouds changed shapes and sizes over the open plains. It was nothing less than ... beautiful.
After North Dakota I crossed the boarder at the International Peace Garden (very cool spot to visit) to head up into Manitoba Canada. This was my third trip into Canada. I love visiting Canada for the obvious reasons: the natural beauty and the friendly people. What I also love about Canada is the sense of national pride that is evident all throughout it (at least the places I have been).
Everywhere I go, I saw Canadian flags proudly displayed When I crossed back over into the USA passing through the town of Fort Francis on the Canadian side I saw countless houses, buildings, public structures, etc... all flying the Canadian flag. This experience left me feeling happy and inspired. On the USA side I did not have the same experience and it left me feeling a little sad. As I drove by countless houses, buildings, and public structures, I kept looking for an equal symbolic show of patriotism and pride, but never found it at the level I saw in Canada.
I wonder where our pride has gone? Where has the sense of National pride that I saw on September 12th, 2001 and the days after, where has that disappeared to? Have we, as Americans, allowed our view of what America is, to be represented by politicians vs our own personal belief and our own personal ideas of what America is? This discussion is for another blog, so I will leave it here.
Road trips are amazing adventures. They do not have to cover 1000's of miles, they can be as long or as short as you want. Road trips do not have to be expensive. Some of my favorite road trips have been the ones where I jump in my car, bring a cooler full of food, drive to wherever I am going, spend the day there, eat my food I brought and sleep in my car ( to save money), and then drive to the next spot. If I need to shower I will go and workout at the local gym and then shower after. $10 for a day pass at a gym (many you can get a free one for if you look online) vs $100+ for a hotel.
Where ever you are in the world, there is an opportunity for adventure and discovery waiting for you in your backyard!
Do you have a favorite memory/experience of a road trip you would like to share? If so please leave it in the comments below. I would love to read about it! :)
Summertime is approaching for many of us. I encourage you to make a plan, (or don't plan at all just go on the spur of the moment), to spend a few days with your camera, your car, maybe a few friends, and the open road. The experience will be unforgettable.
Enjoy the pics,