Road Trips

by dixie

It’s an odd road I’ve taken to get to where I am. I grew up a very stereotypical American child, geographically challenged and insular. Now I’m Irish by choice, living in a house with a loft, and among my personal achievements for the year is “added Africa to the list of continents I’ve been to.” I feel comfortable in saying I’m a seasoned flyer. Lightly seasoned, maybe, but seasoned nonetheless. But the first time I ever got on a plane was at the age of ten, much older than most of you, my readers, would have taken your first plane flights.

This isn’t to say I never left the state of Georgia before I was ten. Far from it. The only family I had in Georgia were the people I lived with; for Thanksgiving and other holidays that required extended family we had to go to North Carolina or Michigan. And we drove.

Grosse Pointe Michigan, by the way, is a 12-hour drive from Atlanta, straight up I-75. I had two sisters, and the family car was a station wagon (or estate car, if you prefer). Think carefully about that before you try to judge my parents on anything.

When I learned to drive as a teenager, I wasted no time in taking road trips of my own. Before leaving for college, I’d driven to Baltimore for a convention, and to Hilton Head to visit Molly. I also drove to and from school every day for two years, 40 minutes each way.

When I grew up and left Atlanta with all the speed and grace of a bullet fired from a gun, I abandoned my car and my road tripping ways. I travelled by Greyhound bus (never again) and by plane. I started crossing oceans. By the time I made it out to LA, however, I’d bought another car and returned to the ways of the road. Over seven years of my Pasadena exile I drove across America twice, drove up the Pacific Coast Highway three times, drove two and from Denver at least four times, and drove the road between Pasadena and Las Vegas more times than I can count. Or would want to.

The only people better suited to road tripping might be professional truckers, and that’s a debate I think I’d have a shot at winning. So when I say it’s a little funny that I’m now living in a country you can cross on a single tank of petrol, and that I spent an entire month flying around a continent, this is where I’m coming from.

It’s fitting, then, that when I finally reached Atlanta during my month of madness it wasn’t by plane, but by car.