It's not always possible to avoid driving the interstates, unless you are driving something that can do back roads and dirt roads. If you've been following my trip you already know I can't go off-roading in my van or I have to dig myself out. Lately between destinations I have been driving long, straight highways that vanish far off on the horizon. Seventeen miles looks a lot further when you can actually see your destination on the flat landscape.
I love driving so I have that to my advantage, but even I get a little stir crazy when there's not much to see and the road goes on forever. One can only play drums on the steering wheel or have one-sided conversations with your dog for so many hours. So, I have a lot of time to think. Recently I have been contacted by a couple of magazines who want to do stories about my travels and the Barter Van. The questions they ask have given me lots to think about and reflect on. A common question is what has been my favorite experience so far. There's not one experience in particular that I like more than others. It comes down to the people I've met and how those interactions have helped shape my journey. I have always been a bit of a loner but without the social interaction and kindness of strangers it would be a completely different trip. I actually met someone once who told me they don't care about what other people do or think. I was kind of floored by that! I can't get enough of other peoples stories and have been accused of talking too much to cashiers and waitresses. I have been lucky to meet, and still be in touch with, so many wonderful individuals.
Time goes by so quickly. I can't believe I've been on the road for nine weeks already. It's a bit of a blur. In all my conversations everyone agrees that time goes by too quickly. When people ask why I finally made the decision I tell them it's about time. There's no telling I will make it to be elderly and there's no time like the present. I think I've always had this preoccupation with the passing of time and growing old. It's what propels me to do things now as opposed to waiting. I've had a number of emails and conversations with older people who commend me for doing what I'm doing and wishing they had. As much as I wish they had of too, selfishly it just reaffirms what I'm doing.
I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the bartering idea. The van starts conversations with people about bartering and it helps. I considered taking the magnets off until I've made some new pieces to trade and have a new way of approaching it but I like that it makes people ask questions. I still have a lot of questions myself about it but I haven't given up. As I watch my bank account dwindle I know I'm going to have to make it work. I'm just stubborn enough to make it happen.
So, I leave now to drive what's been described as one of the longest, straightest and most dull stretches of highway yet. I wish I could have an inner tape recorder to record my thoughts for further posts. I do my best thinking while staring at the lines on the road....