When I was first invited on a road trip to Olympia and back with three other teachers on my team, I was hesitant. As much as I hate to admit it, I am particular. I like to be in charge of trips, I like to control my own time. Knowing that my travel companions can be more boisterous and free-spirited than I normally am, I worried I might feel out of place. Thankfully, I pushed myself outside my comfort zone. Here is what I learned from my adventure:
1. We all need to get out of our boxes from time to time. It’s so easy to surround ourselves with people that are like us, which are undoubtedly wonderful people, but it is also important to get out there in this big world and meet others who are different. Not only did I bond with my team of teachers in an entirely new way, but I also met a lot of travelers whose stories will stick with me. A woman from Wisconsin with her two dogs and a cat stuffed into her station wagon, the old man by the sea, a transplanted waitress from Placerville now living in Reedsport, a starving young artist selling t-shirts in Portland… The list goes on, you get the point. I met a lot of really friendly people wanting to talk. Some I met because I traveled with a car full of extroverts, some I met just being me. Their stories were fascinating, my notebook now full of characters. Nothing sparks the imagination like the half-told stories of strangers.
2. Sometimes you have to go in circles to get where you’re going. My mom likes to say I’m a type 3 personality, insinuating that type A isn’t enough to describe me. Accordingly, I’m usually very impatient with being off-schedule because I try to stuff so many experiences into each day. However, on this trip, since I was not in charge, I just sat back and let things happen. Sure we got lost and time disappeared sitting in the car, but that time going in circles ended up holding its own adventures. At the end of the day, we always ended up where we were trying to go.
3. Laugh, a lot. Four women in a car for five days makes everything funny. Never in my life have I laughed so hard or so frequently. More than anything else from my adventure, I will remember the distinct laughters of my travel companions and the fun we had in every moment, whether it was stuck on a bridge in Portland or waiting for coffee at a Dutch Brothers. After all, anything in life is better if you keep a good sense of humor.