2017 summer, my family and I took a road trip from Boston MA to Nashville, TN to take my first daughter to her college. The round trip took 7 days and was the longest road trip I ever had. I’d like to share thoughts that came to me after the trip.
I spent many hours searching for the shortest routes with beautiful scenic roads, well-known places to stop, hotels for resting at night. While making a perfect 7-day itinerary, I was disturbed by many worries. Would my back be ok after many days on the road ( I have a lower back pain health issue)? Would our car drive ok not breaking down in a middle of highways because of the heavy load ( We had to put a cargo bag on the car’s rooftop to carry lots stuff to support my daughter’s college life)? In general, I worried about driving long hours and visiting unfamiliar places (Southern part of US). Even the recent (a weekend before the trip) terrible clash during the White nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA elevated my anxiety level because Charlottesville VA was on our itinerary.
Despite all those worries, the trip started as planned. When we were on the road, time started to pass by very slowly. According to the itinerary, we would drive about 8 hours a day on average. In the beginning, I stared at my phone’s Google Map app for the remaining time to the destination every a few minutes. 8 hours became 7 hours eventually, a while later to 6 hours. Then there was a road construction extending the remaining time back to 6 hours and 21 minutes. We faced road construction about every a few hours (maybe more often). Some caused a complete stop but many of the construction just reduced the driving speed. From time to time, we hit heavy traffic extending the time again. Most of the time, the journey offered boring, lonely stretches of the road. And I learned quickly to welcome the mundane drive since there was nothing else that could shorten the time but boring, lonely stretches of the road.
On the third day of the trip, we hit the famous scenic drive, Blue Ridge Parkway about 90 miles so from Blowing Rock NC, to Asheville NC. A road wrapped around mountains as a python did on a giant sequoia. The view with deep valleys and rivers seen from the top of mountains were just stunning. After the 90 miles of joyful drive, we stopped Asheville, NC for lunch. Then we went right back on a highway to get to our final destination, Nashville TN. Highways were filled with 18 wheelers. I didn’t feel comfortable being around them, but I couldn’t help but learn to share the road with them because there weren’t that many parkways like Blue Ridge Parkway, not allowing heavy trucks to the destination.
Filled with some sort of accomplishment after the 7-day long road trip, I pondered about other life ventures I had dreamed but never had started. As I planned detail of those goals they seemed to be taking too long to achieve, and I seemed to lack the ability to drive through to the end. They all had appeared to be daunting, reminding me of trying to back out of the 7-day road trip plan and to look for flights instead. Those self-imposed limitations hampered me not to put any actions toward those life ventures.
What if I just started those goals I had just like the road trip. Maybe one big secret of having success in life is to start. Becoming a nonfiction author is my attempt now. And this time around, I intend to start despite the fear. I understand it would take years or maybe I never become one but I decided to start the journey. I am mapping out which routes to take to become an author, such as building a daily writing habit, becoming a blogger, putting out self-published e-books and publishing books, etc. Just imagining myself doing those frightens me. Worrying that I am not good at writing how can I become an author. Who is going to read my stuff and what if people make fun of my writing etc.? But I believe just like the trip to Nashville, once I set out, it will get better.
I imagine what would be like the journey of becoming an author. It will be like the long road trip I had. I will hit construction every day. Many bad habits I have, procrastination, laziness got to be uprooted, and new habits need to be created to make time for writing. Some will take really long time to build. I will also hit heavy traffic. Many to-do lists, from my day job, parenthood, family, and friends, will crowd my route. I will encounter with many talented writers and be intimidated by their writings, but just like the 18 wheelers I faced on the way to Nashville, I will learn to co-exist to continue traveling down the road with them. I need to make sure not to get burned out by finding the right time and places to rest to set out next day. The journey will occasionally grant me opportunities to enjoy such as, giving me feeling of accomplishment after publishing posts, e-books, and books. I shall be grateful for and take advantage of the opportunities as I was driving the Blue Ridge Parkway scenic drive. Most of all, as the daily mundane highway drive was the fastest way get to a destination. I will embrace the day-to-day writing practices.
It took me three days to drive from Boston, MA to Nashville, TN. It was about 1100 miles. Some people may get there in two days instead of three. It may vary how long it takes. As long as one keeps on driving, he or she will get there in two days or three days or even four days. I am starting my journey of becoming an author and I will get there. I don’t know exactly how long it will take. It will depend on all of the above factors I’ve been discussing. The important point is that I will get there because I started.