In February 2016, on my way back from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Vancouver Island, I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Unbeknownst to me, I remained in road trip bliss for another 45 minutes before seeing the sign for the Mexican border. I pulled over and used my iPhone to take a quick glance at my GPS and made a decision to cut cross-country on the back roads to try to make up for some time and travel distance.
So let me just tell you, my dad loved road trips. My propensity to take the scenic route stems from Sunday drives with my dad. Yet, on this day when my cell phone lost service 20 minutes after leaving the interstate, I immediately panicked about not having GPS and cell service.
What if I miss the turn off? I barely know where I’m going. What will I do without GPS? I should have taken some notes, committed more of the route to memory. What if I get a flat? What’s with all the shiny black Cadillac Escalades? I’ve watched Breaking Bad, I know what goes on in the wilds of New Mexico…maybe I should turn around? What if this isn’t safe?
‘What’s the worst that will happen? my reasonable self chimes in, ‘so you get to the hotel late. You can sleep in. Sheesh! Relax a little.”
My mind is calculating how much time I will lose by backtracking when I see a vehicle gaining speed behind me. I tell myself “you better hope it’s not an Escalade or you’ll be wishing you had turned around when you had the chance. Played it safe.”
The truck pulls out to pass and as it does, the ranch emblem on the door is prominent. Ahead in the distance, I see it take a right turn onto a trail that disappears on the horizon, a plumb of dust behind it. I pass the arches for the ranch; the dust spreads like a blanket above the desert landscape. I relax a little.
“Ranchers,’ I tell myself, ‘farmers, like your ancestors. There’s your big scary world, someone going home to kiss their kids goodnight.”
The route takes me through Magdalena, listed on New Mexico’s ghost towns. I resist stopping in Pie Town, and continue toward Arizona.
My dad knew every highway by number. It used to drive me crazy as a teenager when he began rattling off highway numbers as a way of explaining our route. I think of my dad and the irony of my situation. If I knew the highway numbers, I wouldn’t have this problem.
I should have known. My father was a practical man. “Maps,” I suddenly hear myself say.
Embarrassed by the amount of time it took me to get to that solution, I pull into the next aging, roadside gas station. I come out the proud owner of a U.S. roadmap. Page 29, New Mexico and Arizona. I bend back the cover and set it on the seat next to me. I have a room booked so I can see the sunrise over the Grand Canyon in the morning. I ride out the remaining time aware of the silence and the stillness of the old roads before the lights and rush of the interstate.
A mindful road trip becomes a soulful adventure. (Need a few tips on creating your own soulful adventure? There’s a sign up link at the bottom of this post.)
It is in that silence and stillness where I feel more trust and faith and less fear, where my mind quietens and my inner creative source relishes in the adventure of the road, the richness of changing scenery, and the golden glow of the southwest sunset and who is not afraid at all.
We need space in our lives in order to cultivate trust and practice faith. We allow space for our creativity to emerge. Road trips or soulful adventures do that for me.
Our inner creative source provides the roadmap and the inspiration, but we’re the CO in co-creation process – meaning our physical selves need to cooperate with our inner selves. What small action can you take in response to inspiration? Take that action within the next 24 hours and watch Inspiration respond when you do.
Try this: Today, immerse yourself in an activity that requires concentration and cultivates stillness of the mind. It could be a 30-minute walk in nature, or a visit to local gardens or park, or a quick little detour along the scenic route and a nature hike. Wherever your heart leads you, once your mind settles; listen to your inner creative source. What is it longing for? What quiet whispers is it sending you? What is it asking you to take action on?
I’d love to hear about your experience with this exercise, post in the comments below. Know someone who would enjoy this story and exercise? Please share!
PS – Longing for some soulful me-time? The excitement of a new horizon? Sign up below to get an adventure checklist that will inspire your next “a ha” moment.