A Travel Journal, SUVpacking America

On the road. Discovering who This New Man is.

La Parada, The Stop

the journeyThe road is always a space where something gets discovered. I learned this in countless ways as I traveled the coastal byways along the busiest parts of USAmerica. From the Golden Gate to the edges of Maine.

Every day, in often unexpected ways, I found myself at a personal kind of stopping place, waiting for a choice of buses to catch a ride on.

When one is traveling without a set plan, the wind is your map. But even with such freedom, time and again I found it necessary to ask, which route do we take today? Do we go right or do we go left? Do we continue on the straight course forward or take an express ride back to where we started, a place and a path is known and safe?

Any day, anywhere; over and over I could have chosen the road home. All I had to do was grab the money needed for the fare and the adventure to the unknown would be over. In taking the choice to grab a return trip, I would know that I would eventually be able to pull the string and signal the driver that the next corner was my stopping place. I could get off the bus and not have to decide which ride to take next – at least for a while.

But I never did choose to go back. La Parada was and is about getting on new and unanticipated buses. Going to places I didn’t understand; taking a route that was pretty well unchartered for us. With my traveling companions, however, we continued, day in and day out. We viewed 15,000 miles, saw hundreds of towns, and watched a world go by. A virtual map makes the whole adventure look planned and determined, little red electronic pins charting an intentional course.

But that’s not the way it was. Each day was a surprise stopping and starting point. We could choose any way we wanted to go and our personal bus would take us there, or at least find a way to get to someplace until the choices came again.

La Parada is technically over now. We’ve gone the route. We’re in Michigan looking back on the bigger picture and deciding which bus of life to get on now. We’ll likely revisit some of the ways already explored, maybe the ones to Santa Fe or perhaps to Savannah (or its neighbor Charleston), or perhaps we’ll go to the place with endless and sexy stopping points, The Big Apple. We’ll know when it’s time to choose. That’s what La Parada is all about: A stopping point where we gather to make hard even scary choices.

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