Traveling Light

I guess I should have known what kind of trip it was going to be when I forgot my underwear. Not just a pair or two, mind you, but the whole supply. I had everything else with me: shirts, shorts, pants, swimsuit, socks, etc. and somehow I managed to forget my underwear.

My forgetfulness was followed up with an extra lengthy drive that would normally take about six and a half hours lengthened to ten hours. Thankfully, the kids behaved and the traffic wasn’t due to major accidents, just congestion.

A pleasant shuttle driver made the trip to one of the busiest airports in the country fairly innocuous. We arrived a considerable time before our flight, made it through security with little incident, and hunkered down to wait the nearly six hours until our flight.

That’s when we found out that the thunderstorms we’d been hearing about in the New York City area were forecast for right around the time of our departure. Before a rain drop could even leave the sky, our flight was delayed an hour. The hour delay became two which became about two and a half and it stayed that way until we were finally on our plane, taxiing to the runway.

And then we were off on our coast to coast trip.

Well, the excitement would just continue. Rolling into the airport about 3 or 4 hours after our original scheduled arrival, discovering my wife’s brand new bag was destroyed by a careless passenger’s baby oil leaking all over, arriving at the rental car place to discover that “we’ll track your plane’s progress and wait until it arrives” is just a statement of empty words

When we rolled into our hotel room at 4AM Pacific Time, I think we may have both retorted in stereo that we would not plan on traveling again for a very long time, at least not by air. But time always has a way of changing your mind but also bringing some clarity and perspective that seems quite elusive in the midst of the storm.

The next day, we made our way back to the airport to pick up a rental car, thanks to the kindness of someone who was part of the conference we were at. As we rolled out of the parking lot, I noticed the air pressure on the rear tire was low, which seemed odd considering we had just picked up the car.

We drove it back, left it with a woman who said she’d have it back in ten minutes. Ten minutes turned to twenty minutes. Twenty minutes turned to thirty minutes, and I began to panic. Had someone stolen our rental car? Did I just get hustled? I had images of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” running through my mind when the parking attendant took Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari on a joy ride.

As I frantically asked multiple employees about the whereabouts of my car, the car came around the car. The young woman got out and reported that there had been a nail in the tire. Wow!

My wife and I put our heads together and prayed. We’d had enough. My energy was shot. My nerves were shot. I just wanted to go somewhere other than the conference I had come out to California to attend.

On day three, we experienced a neat God sighting when I realized that a woman to whom my wife had introduced me was from a church that had given me a scholarship while in seminary. That made my day, and maybe even the whole trip. If nothing else had happened that was encouraging that week, I think it would have all been worth it just to see this man and woman’s faces light up when they discovered that their little church had helped me out financially during seminary.

It was sure a lesson to me. I think the more obstacles I hit on the way to something, the more encouragement I should expect once I get there. It’s hard to keep that in mind, but I’m trying my best.

I’m flying to Cincinnati next month, and hoping that it’s an uneventful trip! But if it’s not, I guess I can expect great things!

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Trusting

detourLast week, I was traveling to Minnesota to take part in some training. When I made my travel plans, I had strategically booked a later flight so that I would have the bulk of the day to spend with my family. The training did not start until the next day, so there was no urgency for me to be there the night before. How late I got there was more dependent on me than on anyone else.

My family dropped me off at the airport and I made my way through check-in and security. As I boarded the plane, I thought about the next few days and all that would transpire. I love to travel but as my kids have gotten older, I’ve not always been keen on leaving them behind while I go off on a journey here or there.

I settled into my seat on the plane and before I knew it, there was an announcement over the communication system that we would all need to deplane as there was a technical issue with the plane. You could hear the collective groans from people as they gathered their belongings and made their way back to the gate area from which they had just come.

As we waited for some update of the plane’s status, I played out all of the scenarios in my head of possible arrivals into the Minneapolis airport. As the time ticked by, I went to the gate agent to see about the possibilities that I had before me. If I didn’t at least make it Chicago that night, my prospects were bleak at getting to Minneapolis in time for my training. In fact, if I didn’t make it to Chicago, it looked as if I might miss the whole first day of a two day training.

The next 30 minutes were spent on the phone canceling my car reservation and seeing if there were any other possibilities for travel that the gate agent had overlooked. I never imagined how difficult it would be to cancel a car reservation, nor did I imagine how rude a customer service representative could be to someone who was doing their best to make a fairly important training session.

Needless to say, it was an eventful twenty four hours. I made it to Chicago, managed to get to a hotel paid for by the airline for two hours of sleep, made my way back to the airport, and arrived into Minneapolis about the time that my training was starting downtown. I downloaded the Uber app and quickly familiarized myself with a system that would prove to be incredibly useful over the next two days. I arrived at my training only an hour late having only missed the introductions of the others who were embarking on this training with me.

I like adventure, but I also like control. I guess that you might say that I like the adventures that I can control. Kind of ironic, as I think about it, controlled adventure seems to make as much sense as so many other oxymorons in life like jumbo shrimp, army intelligence, and government aid. The best adventures seem to come when there is a release or abandonment of control, not when one finds themselves hanging onto control for dear life.

But in order to abandon one’s self to adventure, there needs to be some kind of trust in something. At least that’s the way it’s been for me. If I trust something or know something that’s waiting on the other side of the adventure, I will have a much easier time giving myself over to it.

Life rarely provides such a neat and complete package served up to us, does it?

This week, I find myself away from home again for a longer period of time. One short month after purchasing a used vehicle, said vehicle doesn’t start and needs a jump. The scenario played out multiple times over the course of a day and I finally had to bring it into the dealer. Not the kind of thing that you expect out of a car that was certified when purchased, and certainly not the thing that you want to be dealing with when you’re far from home.

As I get older, I am realizing more and more that these are the things of life. Plan A rarely happens as was it was originally thought out. Smooth sailing seems to be reserved for storybook fare, not for real life. In fact, if there’s not some kind of disruption on the way to the final goal, I think I might begin to wonder if something was wrong.

In the midst of the detours, the Plan Bs (and Cs, Ds, and Es for that matter), and the hiccups and bumps along the way, there are some things that I can easily move past while others seem to bog me down. I’d love to say that I easily move in and out of detours and delays without missing a beat, but that would be me lying. Some detours set me off worse than others.

Working through these delays, I have to constantly remind myself that getting frustrated over the situation won’t improve it at all. Getting frustrated with the people with whom I deal with during these detours is an even greater misstep, not only will that not do any good, but that will multiply the number of people who are frustrated due to unforeseen circumstances, circumstances out of my control.

I’m learning to embrace the detour. As I sat in the waiting room of the car dealer the other day, the customer service agent came in to tell me that the battery replacement was not covered under my warranty. Not sure why, but that seems to be one of the items that is exempt from the extended warranty. But I couldn’t help but think to myself, at least I’ve got the money somewhere, at least I can afford this right now. Wanting to afford it and being able to afford it are two different things, and while I would rather have spent the money elsewhere, the fact that I don’t have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for it made me thankful in the moment.

I also couldn’t help but be thankful at the timing of it. I have no major plans that couldn’t be shifted in the moment. There was nothing imminent that I would miss in dealing with this detour. If the detour had taken place in a few weeks, it would have potentially set off an avalanche that would have rippled through plans that have been set for months.

I have heard it said that you can’t control your circumstances but you can control your response to those circumstances. I think I’m beginning to get it, it’s beginning to sink into the deeper parts of my brain. It doesn’t mean that I like it when I am delayed or when something unexpected and expensive comes along, but it does mean that I can look at it as an opportunity to grow and be stretched rather than just one more thing that could set me off.

I’m certainly not there yet, but the beautiful thing about a new day is that you get another chance to try it all over again.

Without A Rudder

For the past few years, my lead pastor and I have gotten away for a few days in the Fall to do long-term planning. We’ve been blessed to have families within our church who have second homes at the beach that have afforded us the opportunity to disconnect from life for a few days to plan out the sermon series for the entire year.

Two years ago, we were able to get away to the Outer Banks and this past Fall we went to Norfolk on the coast of Virginia. It’s amazing how well you can think and how clear your head can be when you intentionally set aside time. We had a productive few days and although it was work, we felt recharged when the time away was over. Sure, there was some emotional and mental exhaustion from what we accomplished, but the sense of accomplishment and the relief of knowing that things were planned out was fantastic.

While most of the time was spent around a table with Bibles and a whiteboard, we tried to find some intentional time to do something fun. Being as we were on the Chesapeake Bay, we decided that if we finished at a certain time, we would go out in the two person kayak. We had been told by the owner of the place where we stayed that a few miles down the coast was a neat little restaurant where we could stop in for lunch. With our destination in mind, we set out, a little later in the morning than we had intended.

We had also been told that the best time for kayaking on the Bay was earlier when the water was smooth and calm, resembling a pane of glass rather than a body of water. I don’t think either of us had been out on a kayak before, at least not a two person kayak. While we get along well together, the true test of any friendship or relationship is a new situation experienced together for the first time.

After dragging the bulky kayak to the beach, we readied ourselves for the journey. While the waters couldn’t be accurately described as “rough,” they weren’t exactly calm and smooth either. We both got into our seats and settled in for the long journey.

I really can’t imagine what we looked like to any innocent bystanders observing us from the shoreline. I wonder if someone thought there was something wrong with us as we just weren’t moving well. We tried to get into a rhythm of rowing but it didn’t seem to matter. We worked harder and harder, rowing with all of our might, but the shoreline just didn’t pass as fast as we had thought that it would.

Now, we had observed some dolphins in the mornings that we had been there but we didn’t think that we would see them again, especially while we were actually out in the Bay. While we were struggling to move forward and after a time or two of capsizing, we seemed to find some kind of rhythm, although no one would have been recruiting us for a rowing or kayaking team.

As we made our way through the water, we heard a sound behind us and as we turned to look, we saw a school of dolphin coming up alongside us. As we inched forward through the water, they move ever closer to us until they were seemingly right on top of us and around us. To be honest, it was a bit unnerving. I’m not the greatest swimmer in the world and while dolphins are playful and not harmful animals, it still made my heart beat faster and faster.

Behind me, my lead pastor was giggling like a schoolgirl. The excitement within him was palpable and I couldn’t help but laugh as well at hearing his excitement. It was all a little surreal, paddling a kayak through the Chesapeake Bay with a school of dolphin swimming all around you. It took our mind off the fact that we were going nowhere fast.

After what felt like forever trying to get to our destination, we finally decided that this was going to take way too long and the end result may just have been exhaustion rather than something more rewarding. We turned the kayak around and started making our way back towards the place where we were staying. There was disappointment in us both as we weren’t able to accomplish what we had set out to accomplish, but the reality of the situation had settled upon the both of us like a storm on the mountains, and like that storm, the reality wasn’t subsiding.

As we got sight of the house in the distance, our paddling became more furious. We edged up to the shore and got off the kayak. As we did, I looked down at the back of the kayak to see the rudder there, laying sideways and clearly doing no good for us. I looked at my lead pastor and said, “Were you using the rudder at all?” He gave me a quizzical look, something that I’ve grown accustomed to, and said, “No.”

At that moment, we both looked at each other again and started to laugh in realization of what had just happened. We had been on a rudderless journey. While we were struggling and fighting to get through the water, our rudder sat there limp and useless because it wasn’t pointed in the right direction. Instead of helping us move through the water, it had been hindering our progression. Two former-engineers-turned-pastors didn’t have the sense between the two of us to have realized the importance of the rudder to help us on our journey.

It seemed like a metaphor for life. How often do we set off on our journey with sights set for the destination without checking to make sure that not only are we headed in the direction but we’ve got everything necessary to get there. Maybe we rush into the journey without a plan. Maybe we don’t have the directions and think we can do without them. Maybe we’ve failed to listen to some wisdom or advice that someone has given us.

Regardless of how we find ourselves in the situation, I think many of us can be on a journey through the water without a rudder. We’re fighting and pushing ahead but if we had just checked one thing, our journey would have been so much smoother.

We both learned a valuable lesson that day, and we won’t soon find ourselves duplicating our mistake. I can look back on the moment and laugh but it’s also a helpful reminder for me to think about what I need before I head out on a journey, even something small that’s forgotten could make way for a much more significant problem.

Time Away

Time away is always a good thing. It’s good to get away to clear your head, to change your surroundings, to change your perspective. It can be helpful, especially when that time is full of restoring, recharging, and life-giving activity. Time away can prepare you for diving back into the fray of everyday life, of facing the pressures that come on a regular basis.

At the same time, time away can be a strain on family. Spouses are tasked with single-parenting for a period of time, children who are not old enough to understand this absence may be confused, and most likely other various impacts on the family.

My seminary education was done by distance. I had to go away for 2 weeks every year. I also was gone from my family for one night a week during that time as I traveled to a class 2 hours from my home. I remember the night before I left for Minnesota, where my classes were held, my wife was pregnant with our second child and we were up in Connecticut with our family.

I had never been away from my wife and 18 month old son for more than an evening. As I stood in the room where my son was staying, holding him in my arms, I began to weep. I wept because of the gravity of the moment. I was going back to school after a nearly 10 year hiatus. I knew none of my classmates. My background had been in engineering and this was going to be a significantly different degree. I wept mostly because I would be away and would be missing moments with my family.

My wife and I had made a commitment at the beginning of the seminary process that I would not be gone for more than 2 weeks a year. That was the best decision that I ever made. While the 2 weeks away were difficult, I grew to appreciate them and even benefit from them. I grew to know many of my classmates and the time away truly became life-giving, restoring, and recharging for me, so much so that time outside of class felt like the more significant time than the time spent within the classroom.

This past year, I have been away from my family a lot. I realize that statement is relative considering that what is “a lot” to me is normal, average, or typical to many others. The time away has not been easy, but I think that it’s been beneficial. This recent trip away, my middle child broke his arm when he fell off the monkey bars (those @#$% monkey bars). It was hard not being there, but squeezing him and hugging him will feel that much better when we reunite.

Home is a good place to land. It always feels good to be back there. No matter how many times I go away, there is nothing else that can bring me joy and peace like coming home again. While I’m grateful for time away, there’s nothing like time at home. I think that the old adage still stands true, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

The Road We Travel

windingpath

Life is full of milestones and bookends. At the end of one path begins another. At the end of every chapter, another one starts.

This past weekend, my family and I attended three separate graduation parties. All three of the graduates were oldest children, the first ones out of the nest and on to college. It’s the ending of a chapter and the starting of another one. In some ways, it can even be a change of genre as the mood and tone of the story seems to change. In the blink of an eye, as so many have said before, these once little children have grown up and are now beginning to go about to be who they are.

Parents spend all of their children’s youth trying to prepare them for what is to come and it seems an almost helpless feeling to simply let them go, to trust that what you have instilled in them will stick, will take root and flourish. It’s a matter of trust, and for those who have faith in God, a matter of prayer as well.

The path on which we travel can be formative……if we allow it to be so. It can shape us and form us, change us and grow us, but we need to be willing to embark on the journey, no matter where that journey may lead us, how that path may twist and turn.

My mom and I were very close, and even during the tumultuous times of the teenage years, we had a special bond. I remember her sharing a poem with me that has never left my mind throughout the years. It’s a great reminder of God’s hand in the midst of the journey on which we find ourselves. As we travel down the road, following the path before us, it may not always look like how we thought it would or should, but we need to trust that God, in his sovereignty, doesn’t make mistakes.

My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad to know,
He makes no mistakes,

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,
For He doth know the way,

Though the night be dark and it may seem,
That day will never break,
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He makes no mistake,

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim,
But come what may, I’ll simply trust,
And leave it all to Him,

For by and by the mist will lift,
And plain it all He’ll make,
Through all the way, though dark to me,
He made not one mistake.

– A.M. Overton, 1932

On the Road Again

After my last few weeks, I have a new appreciation for anyone who has to travel a lot for work. While there might have been a draw to it when I was in my 20s or 30s, it just doesn’t have that same draw anymore. But traveling up and down the east coast has got me longing for my own bed in my own house with my own family around me.

I wonder how people who travel every week for work are able to manage. How do they even remember where they are? Do they wake up in a different city and forget where they are, not because they drank too much but just because they’ve traveled for such a continuous stretch that they kind of lost track along the way?

I remember the days of being single and how romanticized the notion of travel was to me. You could make plans at the drop of a hat, fly off somewhere or go on a road trip without getting permission, without worrying about childcare, without even knowing exactly where you were going. But let’s be honest, I just don’t think that there are a lot of people who actually did that. Sure, you’re out there, you adventurers, but for the most part, those were dreams that were never fulfilled.

I’m getting used to the 95/85 corridor from Richmond to Charlotte. When you stop at an eatery in Charlotte and recognize the worker from the last time you were there, you know that you’ve been here more often than you thought. For those of you who have traveled or will have to travel that route, beware, it’s heavily populated by Virginia and North Carolina’s finest. I appreciate what they’re doing and they’ve put a fairly healthy fear into me, so I hope to not meet them face to face.

I’m still up for road trips, but now, I’m making new memories with my family. I’m remembering all of the road trips that my family took when I was a kid and trying to instill in my kids the same love and appreciation for travel that I had when I was their age.

But road trips with friends can still be just as fun. What an experience to drive and laugh. There’s just nothing that seems to draw people together like being stuck in a car for hours at a time. I’ve grown to appreciate some of my friends even more over the past year as I’ve driven this route with them and laughed.

Road trips can still be fun, but for right now, I think I’m going to take a break from the road for a while. It’ll be nice to get back home and even nicer to be able to stay there for a while.

A Strange Week

long strange tripI sat down to write a Facebook status update that ended up turning into lines and lines of diatribe about this past week.  So, I decided that it was better to just update the blog.  It’s been a strange week.

Sunday night, I drove through the night to get back home after a weekend with family in Connecticut.  I’m not sure the last time that I drove through the night until 4 in the morning, if I ever did it before, but it has taken a lot out of me.  I have been in a proverbial fog all week long.

My daughter has not been sleeping well which has resulted in my wife and I not sleeping well, further contributing to the fogginess in my head.  I snickered when I heard a friend tell me yesterday that he had not slept through the night since his first child was born.  Brutal.  I can feel his pain as I used to be one of the heaviest sleepers that I know.  Unfortunately, those days are gone and I wake too easily.

I’ve been wading through the Fall doldrums this week as well.  Trying to look forward to the future while living in the present and remembering the past.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure or put too much weight on future events, but there are a few things coming down the pike that I really need to get past.  They have been weights on my shoulders and to have them behind me would be a really good thing.

After about 8 months as a new church, we are beginning to get our feet underneath us a little bit more.  As we look towards our budget for the next year, I reached out to a friend whose heart has been for missions in Africa since I met him many years ago.  I had the privilege of performing his wedding and have grown to appreciate he, his wife, and their son even though we don’t get to spend a lot of time together or talk as often as we should.  I am hoping that our church can help to get the family onto the mission field, a dream and desire that they have had for a long time.

Facebook has been aglow with happenings at my seminary alma mater.  Trying to decipher the happenings by sporadic updates from individuals has been difficult at best.  From my perspective so far, it looks as if some beloved professors have been cut from staff for financial reasons.  Not sure how the institution arrived at the conclusions that they did, but these two professors (and probably others whose positions were cut) were memorable and influential to me in my time there.  I’ve said that there are three sides to every story, but it’s harder to get the other two sides while you are in the thick of your own story.  I guess I will see how things develop.

The overarching story of the week has been the Boston Red Sox.  Somehow, they’ve managed to grind out three wins against the former 2012 American League Champion Detroit Tigers.  It’s been a tumultuous ride where pitching has taken a front seat and hitting has been sparse until the past few games.  Anything can happen, it’s October baseball, but regardless of what does happen, I think that I can honestly be content to know that after such an abysmal season last year, they contended this year and put all of their efforts forward.

Today, I will spend the day at my son’s school.  There is a program called the Watchdog program in which dads volunteer their time to spend the day at the school helping out.  I wanted to volunteer on my son’s birthday, but that was Monday, a school holiday.  I am so grateful for this program and the opportunity to be part of the school community more intimately for a day.  I’ve had many friends of grown children who have told me that their children grew up so fast, that they blinked and discovered that their children were in college.  I’ve believed them and have made the conscious effort to take advantage of opportunities like the Watchdog to spend as much time with my kids as I can.

Overall, it’s been an interesting week.  The Fall has been too busy and I already want a break from it.  Looking forward to a less stressful weekend with some exciting opportunities.  Strange weeks will come and go, but I’ll get through them.  You just grin and bear it and take advantage of what’s in front of you.  We’ll see how that works out for me.

Roadtrips

American-Road-Trip-We didn’t have a ton of money while I was growing up, so flying wasn’t our regular form of travel.  In fact, before I graduated from college and was supporting myself, I think I had only flown on a plane twice.  Instead, we would always have the “family truckster” which would carry us around for our trips.

Those were the days before the child safety laws had really gotten strict.  Once you were out of your baby carseat, you were on your own.  The old Chevy Caprice station wagons had the seat in the way back, the cargo area, that faced the vehicles behind you.  That was my seat.  While my brother and I got along okay, I’m not sure that I have ever seen any siblings who haven’t warred over the imaginary lines that lie between them on a long road trip in a car.  Sitting separately made things a little bit more tolerable.

We had our usual trips as a family, we used to go to Lake Pleasant in upstate New York every summer.  Some of my fondest memories were from there.  I learned so many life lessons and even spent an entire summer on staff at the camp where we would regularly go.

My father went to college in Columbia, South Carolina and made some strong friendships with people in Lancaster, just south of Charlotte.  That became a fairly regular trip as well.  Back then, Mountain Dew was like the nectar of the gods to me, it was such a treat to drink, something that we only had when we were on road trips.  To this very day, I don’t think that I can drink Mountain Dew without thinking about our road trips down south.

We had friends who moved to the Chicago area and we took a road trip out to see them.  Those mid-western states are downright brutal, especially when you are younger.  It seems like an endless, flat wasteland which never changes.  While the trip was worth it, getting there was not half the fun, it was more like half the battle.

As I grew older, road trips ceased with my family, but they began to happen with my friends.  A good friend and I took a few trips from Pennsylvania (where I went to college) all the way out to Berea, Ohio.  Pennsylvania isn’t the most exciting state to drive through either, especially through the longest part of it.  We made the best of it and there is nothing like the roadtrip mix, a mix of music chosen specifically for the ride.

Not too long ago, I took a roadtrip to a meeting with 3 other people, 1 of whom I work with, the other 2 were new friends of ours.  You can learn an awful lot about people by spending a total of 14 hours in the car with them.  In some ways, that’s the litmus test to see whether or not you can be friends for the long haul.  If you can withstand that much time in a car together without killing each other or pissing each other off, I think you’re doing pretty well.  At the end of the time, God had done some pretty cool things in the friendship and I know that I learned a lot through our conversations.

As I prepare for my own roadtrip with my family, I think about how much has changed in the last 40 years.  When we would travel, we would play games, sing songs, read books, play more games, and do all kinds of other things that rarely involved electronics.  Now, it seems that the lack of a DVD player in a car means therapy for the parents when all is said and done.  Even though we may be sitting within 3 feet of each other, we create our own little worlds in which we “live” for the time that we are stuck in the metal capsule that we call a car.  Kids are engrossed in whatever movie is on the DVD player or game is on the DS.  Games have somewhat ceased and conversations are going extinct.

As I think about it, it seems that intentionality is the word.  I need to be intentional about starting conversations on the trip.  I think of Clark Griswold, an ordinary guy who just wanted his family to be together and have fun, and he would go to whatever lengths necessary in order to accomplish the latter.  To me, it’s making memories.  Every moment spent together is a moment cemented in the minds of my three children.  These are the moments that they will recall as they get older.  What do I want them to remember?  Do I want them to be excited about beating the next level in their latest game, or do I want them to feel that they have learned something along the way?  About me, about their family, about themselves, about life.

How many times have I heard from people that these moments, the formative years of my children, will only last so long?  Probably too many to count.  I need to be intentional about our time together, and that’s something that I need to do a better job with.  On a roadtrip, it’s not so much the destination that matters so much, it’s the process and the travel of getting there, otherwise, why not fly or get there faster.  There’s something to be said about soaking in the landscape as you travel.

Next week, we’ll go through North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  That’s 20% of the 50 United States of America.  Growing up, I don’t think that I knew what existed west of Virginia.  When we come home, we will be different, the road will have changed us, shaped us, but only if we let it.  If we sequester ourselves into digital bubbles, we will have failed, but if we engage this process together, it seems that the possibilities are endless.

When all is said and done, I think that there will be a lot to write about the life lessons that I learn from a roadtrip.  Sounds like a blog series to me…….