We could be anywhere.
Though we're in Oklahoma until Friday, we could be absolutely anywhere right now. And I don't mean 'could' in the sense that we're able—I suppose that sentiment would be better expressed by saying, We could go absolutely anywhere, which, come Friday, is absolutely true. What I really mean is this: Here could be anywhere.
Last week, while we sat in a Chipotle located near a Home Depot and a David's Bridal and a Best Buy, we realized for maybe the fifth or sixth time in our 15 months on the road just how not-special so much of America is.
Let me rephrase.
In our 17,000+ miles of domestic travel since July 2015, we've come to see that so much of this country looks just the same. Really, what I mean is, the developed parts of this country look just the same.
On a pretty regular basis, we forget where we are. And we forget what happened where.
"Did we joke with that snarky barista at the Starbucks in Flagstaff or Spokane?"
"Was the two-floor Target in Seattle or Missoula?"
Conversely, we know just where we were when we gamboled around the Petrified Forest. Or breathed in the Grand Canyon. The landscape and colors of the Badlands are seared into my memory for life.
It's alarmingly easy to become someone who's widely-traveled—in the sense of having gone many places and, therefore, of being someone who's experienced at moving from one place to the next—but not deeply-traveled: deeply-awed by views that exist nowhere else, that couldn't possibly be just anywhere, that belong exactly where they are; deeply-minimized by landscapes that are too ancient, too huge, too wild, too sprawling to fit inside a big-box store; deeply-familiar with how this country is actually astoundingly beautiful.
I want to be deeply-traveled. Dana does, too.
So, after lots of consideration and conversation, we've decided to forgo our initial impulse to flock to family and friends, post-Oklahoma. We want to see more of the one-of-a-kind parts of this country. We want to swap out wide for deep. We want to experience what makes America extra-special.
It's the centennial year of the National Park Service, which is truly coincidental, but what's not coincidental is the fact that my brother and sister-in-law gifted us last Christmas with an America the Beautiful pass, allowing us admission into more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.
Since we received the pass last January, we've explored a number of national parks (a few of which I wrote about here, here, and here)...but there are many more we want to see. And if I'm being really honest, 'need' feels more accurate than 'want' here. Not to venture too much into macabre territory, but what if this is our one shot to see what we haven't seen before?
Isn't that the very incentive that usually requires underscoring before we—any of us—make a thing happen?
We have this opportunity. Someday is today.
Hit 'reply' and tell me about the thing (or things) you haven't yet experienced, but can't imagine never experiencing in your lifetime? What's the one step you can take to get closer to it today?
Watch this foam circle with the audio on, if you can.
"So what do we see in this data? What I see is that the public view of Hillary Clinton does not seem to be correlated to 'scandals' or issues of character or whether she murdered Vince Foster. No, the one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power. Once she actually has that power her polls go up again. But whenever she asks for it her numbers drop like a manhole cover."
Talk about a latecomer to running: Ida Keeling started at 67. She's 100 now.
Returning to Oklahoma for a couple weeks came with a reward: I was able to get an appointment with a hairstylist I adore. (I'd gotten a bit shaggy.) Walking to the salon, I encountered a wild, 3D mural I'd never noticed. You can see more of Wilderness on Western here.