I was listening to one my favorite podcasts when the hosts talked about how people use travel as a way to escape their problems. People often spontaneously buy plane tickets or take long road trips to “find themselves” or get away from the burdens of their normal lives. There is even the book “Eat. Pray. Love” that is dedicated to this very idea. The hosts of the podcast called it the “Geographic Cure.” They ended their discussion by saying it never works. That the people who try to do this end up returning to their lives and finding out that the burdens are still there. Or the person does not actually find whatever it was they were looking for. I set forth to try this cure out for myself. Not to “find myself” or to escape all my burdens, but to reconnect with family and friends to better handle the stressors in my life.
I currently live on the east coast, but my family lives in the midwest. I usually fly to visit them but that was not an option this time. This time I drove. It was a 14 hour drive all be myself. As I have aid before I hate being by myself; let alone cooped in a car by myself. (I could’ve made a car pun there but I don’t have a coup). Whenever I have driven home in the past I usually take a family member or friend to assist because it is really draining and boring. This time I did not have that luxury, but I end up liking it that way. Turns out the drive is much faster when it’s just one of you in the car. Also, my new car drove amazingly and it was very comfortable. The only part that sucked was that I had to concentrate on the road for such a long period of time.
Once I reached my destination it was incredible. My family hasn’t all been under the same roof for about a year. When we were finally reunited things felt like they were back to normal. Our voices and laughter filled the house. We had teased each other like old times and had deep conversations to encourage each other that the future was going to be okay. I met a new addition to the family, which is my niece, and she is adorable. The week we all had together was so much fun, and I did not want it to end. This past year that we have spent apart was stressful and frustrating, yet I learned a lot and grew more than I thought I was going to. It was good to see that they had also gone through similar growing stages.
But like all good things it came to an end. I had to make the trek back to the east coast. This drive was also long and lonely. However, I made a pit stop where I met up with a lot of my friends to celebrate a wedding. Like being with family, when you are with really close friends who haven’t been together for a while it’s like time hasn’t passed. The wedding was beautiful, but the time we spent together was more so. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to see how my friends have matured and changed. When I left them it was difficult to say goodbye.
My response to the hosts of my favorite podcast is that the geographic cure is false. They were right; to an extent. The geography didn’t help me. Yes, I liked parts of the drive and it was fun to visit the cities I did, but the real “cure” is the people. More accurately, the cure is the Lord. The Bible talks about reflecting God’s characteristics when you have a close relationship with Him. That is what I saw when I was with my family and friends. This was the real help for me. Having people in my life that exemplify the fruits of the Holy Spirit helps with the stressors of my life. It was good to be reminded of that on my short road trip.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson