The weather is warming and the park is not enough. The crowds, the hula hoopers, that one dude playing Sasha & Digweed super loud...it’s all nice the first few times, but, after a while, you just want to say "Cool It!" to everyone. Here’s a thought: this upcoming weekend or the next or the next, jump in a car and hit the open road. Maybe head south to Big Sur, past the strawberry fields and the tallest of dunes. Or maybe north to the Oregon state line, just to turn around and come back home. Whatever your destination (preferably one with an In-N-Out on the way), the long stretches of highway are just what you need to re-center yourself and just chill. So sit back, flick on the cruise control, and let the following inspire you to see nothing but yellow lines and the vast ahead:
Joni Mitchell – “Amelia”
If you’ve read any number of my past blog posts, you might know that Joni Mitchell and I are definitely in a relationship. More than being one of her most heartbreaking songs, Joni’s “Amelia” has just the right elements for a journey. Written to (rather than for) Amelia Earhart, it is a letter from one pilot to another: "a ghost of aviation / she was swallowed by the sky / or by the sea like me / she had a dream to fly." It is song two on Hejira, an album Joni wrote as she drove cross-country from Maine back to California. From start to finish, Hejira gives us road trip realness as our songstress encounters coyotes and Cactus Tree Motels but gets a few glimpses into her place on that never-ending stretch of highway.
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
Ahhh, what it means to be young and full of endless energy and glow. Kerouac’s magnum opus has become the go-to sacred text for the vim and vigor of nomadic life. It’s crazy to imagine American literature without it. I’ve traveled twice across the country by car in hopes of following in his footsteps, which is difficult in an era of Google Maps and Airbnb. But the night drives must be the same, the big sky unmistakable. I like to think that all who take that trans-America jaunt are toasting to all those who came before. And maybe they are all toasting us, too.