Forget chicken soup for the traveler’s soul; what keeps us going when we can’t–for whatever reason–satisfy our nomadic tendencies, are day trips. They are luscious, small doses of what our lives would be like every day, if we could only shake off the necessity to finance them. Though I know people who have worked their way around the system, enabling themselves to travel for months or years at a time, for some of us, it’s not realistic to always travel that way. We either have family obligations or complications, or like me, choose to succumb to the demands of the corporate default world, albeit temporarily.
So while caged in the “veal-fattening pen,” it’s necessary to dream about mini-trips, lest we go insane.
As of Friday at noon, I was still unsure of where I would be going this weekend, though I knew I wanted to go somewhere. I chose Galena, Ill., a town I have never before visited, but have heard so much about. Even the drive here feeds the soul; as the sun set, the blue sky gave way to pinks and browns, and corn fields stretched over the rolling hills, quilting them like a thick comforter. Downtown Galena is quaint and historic, and Main Street is lined with boutiques, specialty shops and restaurants. Unimaginably steep staircases stretch to the side of the street, up the hill to a place that no doubt offers a breathtaking overlook. Last night I listened to local musicians, some so good they brought tears to my eyes. I dined on local creations. I slept the sleep of the satisfied.
On days when I trudge to work, I can barely rouse myself in time to take a shower. Today, I am up earlier than is typical, and I can hardly wait for the town to wake. This, the discovery of downy newness, the unveiling of the as-yet hidden to mine eyes, the suckling at the honeyed hive of life, this is what feeds us. This is what makes the 9-5 bearable. This is what keeps hope alive that someday, again, we will be bopping merrily around the world.
Today, I tackle the staircase. It is both metaphor and meaningless. It is a thousand more steps in the journey that has brought me to this place. It is the overcoming of things left at the bottom of the proverbial hill. As my eyes become drenched in new landscapes, though I may be tired, there is less struggle than the daily grind; because it is this that makes life expansive, delicious and sexy. Chicken soup ain’t got nothin’ on this.
Long live the day trip!
Tell me about your recent day trips.