Saturday, November 19, 2016

11/21/16: Another Holiday Norther

My latest trip: another Norther, to visit family, in the same Carolina-to-Carolina circuit I've been making for some time, with yoga at regular stops along the way.

As routine as they've become, I still love these trips, on multiple levels. However, this one proved not-so-routine.

First twist.

It started when, a day in, I received a phone call that sent me back south for a day, on some urgent and sudden business. More adventurous driving and yoga and more driving still, while parking-lot camping in my beloved van -- fun, fun. Next, once I'd done what needed doing and then headed back on my northerly ascent, I got lost -- three times, actually, having taken one wrong turn, then a second wrong turn upon trying to recover from the first, and then a third, in the same fashion, while recovering from my recovery. But that was okay, for it just meant more fun-fun driving, and I ended up in the quiet wilds of central NC, in a place I'd never been to but was glad to be in (where I did indeed van-camp and yoga).

Pictures from this leg of the trip (the only I remembered to take, as it were):

From there, it was a wonderful and uneventful Thanksgiving with my folks, up in the Applachians. And then, subsequently, an equally enjoyable and uneventful descent back to SC, again with van-camping and yoga and other assorted goodness.

It was then, on my seemingly mundane return trip, that the second twist came.

I had an epiphany of sorts, is what happened -- about this blog and its distinctly uninspired content, as it were. In a light-bulb moment, I realized just how much I delight in my seemingly dull, one-dimensional wanderings across the country. Taken at face value, my travels would be considered totally unnoteworthy to many people, especially your typical traveler -- after all, I don't visit museums or landmarks or anything traditionally considered worth traveling for (nor are my cell-phone pictures of anything but the everyday places where I perform my yoga). So, "dull" would be an understandable perception, sure; but only for the outside observer.

As the owner of the memories depicted by these rambling posts and their empty pictures, the reality of those events is absolutely priceless, as well as astounding.

It's a matter of psychology, you see. Setting out on these featureless journeys, thoroughly unthrilling and unentertaining and un-jaw-dropping, I always find myself discovering the joy of sheer existence, as to revel in the simple act of being, rather than only the rare instance of excitement or gratification. In this way, ALL is gratifying, ALL is exciting, ALL is nothing less than a thrill ride into the very essence of life itself -- "pura vida," they call it down in South America. Out in the sea of Modern Urbania and its interstate-connected strip-mall nothingness, with its artificial environment of cheap, limitless, endlessly duplicated sprawl-stores and restaurants -- there, I find something magical happening: that sea takes me, and, in my state of pura-vida dazzlement, I watch the world transform, and myself with it. Then, there is only a wonderland of being and life, bringing with it a fierce passion that is not surpassed by sex or drugs or other such pursuits. Just like the sailors of old, I experience a sea-change amidst my descent into the concrete McJungle, as to see the undying, unconditional beauty resident within it and all else.

Every faceless street corner becomes a carnival. Every Starbucks, a prized, locals-only secret. Every logo-wearing, smart-phone-staring 9-5er, simply a person, unique as a snowflake and delightful beyond words. In my travel-clarified vision, the world becomes a church, with God as life at large, and travel my worship.

Thus, my worship-voyages become absolute indulgence in this priceless-but-free commodity, brilliant and ravenous and nourishing to my soul.


* * *

So, the point of this post? Simple: this is the context of my blog and its pictures, and why I bother to share something so seemingly pointless. And, after all: to one of like mind, who also travels to non-destinations for the sheer pleasure of it, perhaps this blog isn't so uninteresting ...

11/6-11/15: The Cross-country Trip that Wasn't

This one started as a full-out, Carolina-to-California roadtrip, but somehow ended up as a confusion of un-destined exploration that spanned much of the Southeast, which would resemble a pretzel if mapped.

Don't ask me how it happened, or even where I stopped along the way (not to mention why). I started West, with every intention of continuing on that course until reaching the Pacific in some capacity; but then, a few days in, I just suddenly ... changed direction, surprising myself along with any imaginary passengers I might've had. Sure, this caprice wasn't quite as random and mindless as I'm making it out to be, for I did have reasons; those reasons are just highly personal and obscure, and hard to understand by anyone but me. So I'll just leave it at that: I had reasons, and they saw me Southeast, eventually to Florida.

I can sum up this trip pretty easily, despite it being nearly two weeks of reasonably intensive travel: I drove, and I slept in The Horny Manta Ray (as well as ate there, and did many other things for which no minivan was designed for), and did lots of yoga. And, I enjoyed every darn minute of it. Because I went nowhere that would be considered notable by anyone but myself, I won't elaborate on where I went. Instead, I'll just do another lazy summation: I stopped at many Anytime Fitness locations, and many coffee shops, and many gas stations, with a couple cheap non-van lodgings thrown in the mix, all located within the somewhat gun-shaped SC-GA-AL-FL geographical cluster.

As for pictures, I was at the absolute bottom of my game, forgetting to snap shots of my yoga-spots even more often than previous jaunts. Here are the ones I remembered to take, in no particular order other than date and trajectory:

Underwhelming to the outside observer? Yes (and, admittedly, even for yours truly, from time to time). But, all the same, I cherished this weird, stunted trip, no less than if it had succeeded in its cross-country aspirations (or, for that matter, if it had been to the Moon and back). The travel was perfect, and I loved it, and am eternally grateful for the experience.