I can tell because I've been spending inordinate amounts of time on Mapquest, mapping out hypothetical and random roads trips between here and various theres in the Western US.
I love maps and road trips and yes, just plain travel.
Our kids have inherited the road trip gene - they're positively Pavlovian when it comes to car excursions. They immediately begin packing, upon hearing of said impending trip - regardless of destination - and then a full hour prior to departure, they can invariably be found already ensconced in their seats in the vehicle amongst myriad pillows, snacks, electronic gear and stuffies. Repeat rituals on return journey. Suffice to say they are stellar travellers.
Speaking of stellar, our quick and dirty road trip this week took us to Vancouver, BC. In honour of this homecoming, I decided to crank Canadian tunes all the way, whilst deftly avoiding all the speed traps set up along the way. Listening to Klaatu was very retro - I was making wide-eyed nanu-nanu gestures at passing vehicles while singing 'calling occupants of interplanetary most extraordinary craft.' (The Klaatu thing throws people who assume this to be a Carpenters tune - wrong-o).
What can I say? I was on the stretch between Marysville and Bellingham, WA and I was bored.
But not only was I pretending to be a Heaven's Gate cult member on this drive, I was also channeling my inner cuckoo nester, when I switched to glide by grooving to The Kings. One of my favourite ways to frighten my children is to belt out lyrics at the upper limits of my vocal range to songs they don't know. This is a particularly gratifying activity when said lyrics necessarily entail yelling: 'lunatics anonymous, that's where I belong!'
Sigh. My thrills, they are cheap and infrequent, especially in the road trip department. Road trips are stupendous and wondrous, but they are sadly lacking in our life lately, given our collective if impossible schedule.
I recognize that these are the best of times and the worst of times for we are in both the best and worst kind of vagabondage right now; encumbered by our dharma and lot in life, which is that of householder (2nd of four Hindu stages of life). The operative words here being house and hold.
On that note, here are some excerpts from a piece by Pico Iyer that I love, entitled "Why We Travel: A Love Affair with the World."
And precisely because we are clarified in this way, and freed of unessential labels, we have the opportunity to come into contact with more essential parts of ourselves (which may begin to explain why we may feel most alive when far from home). Abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse, and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love. We live without a past or future, for a moment at least, and are ourselves up for grabs and open to interpretation."