Thursday, August 20, 2009

"There is no set path; just follow your heart"

I've had this quote on my desk, copied from a friend's refrigerator magnet, since last year, shortly after I started planning my x-country trip. It resonated with me. I wanted to travel the country like John Steinbeck in "Travels with Charley: In search of America", except that instead of bringing along a French standard poodle, I would bring Teddy Tripper, my Vermont teddy bear, a gift for my first solo RV trip in 2003, when I drove down the east coast of Florida and up the west. The great thing is that he arrived with all the appropriate accessories, such as backpack, cell phone, sunglasses, and sandals, and carried a sign, "Florida or bust."

Steinbeck had a "lifelong wanderlust", and so do I. At first I thought of taking my entire trip with "no set path" which I imagined Steinbeck had done. But, I soon realized that this is not 1960 and I am not Steinbeck. So, I did my thing with the guide books and the maps and yes, made reservations for all 35 nights.

In the end, it became clear that of course there is no set path, that is, until we create one. And the fact that I created mine in advance rather than as I went along, does not diminish the fact that during my weeks of research and planning, I did indeed follow my heart.

Here is the path my heart created:

National Parks: Rocky Mountain, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier Mountain, Redwood, Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, and Mesa Verde, plus many national monuments and landmarks. In between, I will visit places like the Black Hills in South Dakota, the Coast of Oregon, Napa Valley in California, and the Monument Valley Navajo Reservation in Utah, as well as the west coast cities of Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. And, best of all, I have set aside time to get off the beaten path to visit friends of friends in small towns along the way.

Now, I just have to find some cowboy boots for Teddy Tripper!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Teddy Tripper sounds like the perfect travel companion! He will just go along for the ride and agree with anything you choose. Grab him a bandana towear with those boots!