Daunted

I’m about to head out on the next leg of my journey, and I’m feeling a bit daunted. Up to now, I have had at least a smattering of knowledge about the states I have visited, and I have known people along the way, which has made a huge difference. During the next few weeks, I will be in states that I know only by legend. I will have lunch with two or three people in Florida, and maybe stay a couple of nights with a friend there, but otherwise the coming states loom friendless. Heavily trafficked. Populated by billions of insects. And expensive.

Florida particularly seems daunting because if I merely cut across the state, which is a great distance by itself, I would miss much. And yet, the thought of traveling the length of the state twice (down and back) is overwhelming. Do I want to see the keys? Do I want to see the Everglades? Do I want to attempt a visit to Dry Tortuga National Park, a tiny island closer to Cuba than the United States?

If I were honest, I’d have to say, “not particularly.” There really is no place I’d like to visit more than any other. The truth is, everything is beginning to run together with very few regional differences. Of course the rainy states are greener than the dry states, but those seem more changes in spectrum than anything — the same but different. And people are the same everywhere — mostly kind with an occasional jerk for leavening. There are more southern accents in the south, but there are southern accents everywhere in this mobile world of ours. And many businesses are identical. (I went to a movie theater in Tucson that was identical to the one I had been in a few days and a few hundred miles before. Even the posters on the wall were the same. I had to stop to catch my bearings because for a second, I didn’t know where I was.)

Despite my momentary lack of enthusiasm for this quest (though quest for what, I still don’t know), I am drawn ever onward. There are things to see, people to meet, national parks to visit. And blogs to write.

Daunted or not, I’ll see you on down the road.

***

(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

***
My Louisiana friend and I stopped to play on this adult jungle gym. So much fun! The azaleas are from her back yard.

9 Responses to “Daunted”

  1. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Wow _ Pat! I take my hat off to your unceasing adventure! Let me know if you ever get up this far…

  2. leesis Says:

    Hey Pat…I maybe wrong but I’m wondering if your starting to wonder what you are looking for? I have always encouraged you on this journey, to just start it no matter what because I know how awesome it will be for you. But you’ve been moving moving moving and thats not quite right is it?

    The last two posts speak to me of a required pause where you sit awhile. As alone people wise as is wise, but in nature with the tent up, a kettle kept constantly hot for a cup of tea whenever you feel like one. And pause and think and feel. Write with pen and paper only. Listen to the noisy silence of nature and breath. Your right. The external world is simply a external sameness unless you stop and drink in the environment. We don’t change from without we change from within and for that we need to move slowly. Who knows what else this journey has for you.

    By the way, your post about driving so much made me want to say well can’t you put your car on the train to the next state and walk across and meet your car. That’ll slow you down🙂. I know the miles but I come from Australia…the USA seems puny🙂 xx

    p.s Florida seems less fun. Can’t you do the coastal rd only?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s interesting how spot on your comment was. I’m at a campsite now, relaxing after a much shorter drive than the other day. I took a walk among the trees, visited the bayous, watched an alligator not move. It’s funny that I never question the rightness of this journey when I am on foot.

      As for putting my car on a train — it’s a great idea, but I don’t think it’s possible here. And I truly am not in shape for such a trek. However, I am entering a different phase of this journey, where I will be camping and hiking more. At least I hope I am. 

      I do think it’s possible that I will never know what this is about. I don’t know if it matters. For now, it only matters that I am doing it.

      I haven’t even traveled halfway. Been gone six weeks out of a projected 16 weeks. Maybe wisdom will hit me over the head or inspiration will strike me. Or maybe the lessons will slowly seep in over the years.

      Two things I haven’t yet done that might have to wait for another time — backpacking where I am on the move for a while and camping in the spot for a week or two at a time before moving on.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    What you do, I think, depends on where you are drawn. Are there places you’ve always wanted to go? I grew up in Florida, but it’s changed a lot. So, I’m not going to “risk” saying ABC and XYZ are nice places to visit because they may not be your cup of tea or they may have changed or they may be nice to visit only if you fly to them and don’t have to contend with hours and hours of driving to get there.

    Or, maybe the hours and hours on the road is more the point of the adventure. Driving and seeing what turns up, perhaps where your intuition leads you, a chance fork in the road (and, on a whim) you go one way rather than the other because something calls you down that road…the name of a town…the scenery.

    There’s always a risk in looking for the new or experiencing the unknown because sometimes local color and local cafes less-well-known attractions and all that are wonderful because they’re not carbon copies of the places visited yesterday and the day before. But they could turn out to be worth skipping…something you don’t know until after you didn’t skip them. Or, maybe having a crappy (but unique salad) at BIG BOB’S SALAD HAPPENING is part of a memorable trip (especially when you laugh about it later).

    The hours and hours on the road would get to me if I couldn’t break them up by stopping and smelling the roses 3-4 days at a time at one place or another…places to stop and just enjoy having stopped, looking at the view, walking through the view or reading a book in a camp site in the middle of the best trees and sky you’ve seen in days. But that’s me, the me that I am now and not the me that I was 15 years ago or 20 years ago when maybe I would have done other kinds of things.

    I don’t know why we drive around. Maybe we’re always looking for ourselves, discovering. . .

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I have not had many drive-all-day days. That one got to me because of the rain because there was nothing else today. Although today seemed like a drive-all-day day, starting in Ocean Springs Mississippi and ending in Chipley Florida, I did go to Pensacola Beach, and I had lunch with an online friend.

      It’s funny — even when it doesn’t seem as if I am doing anything, I am still fulfilling my stated goal of driving cross country. I camped last night at a bayou. Saw an alligator. That was cool!

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      And yes, I think we are always looking to discover something, in ourselves, in the outer world, whatever. 

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  4. Kathy Says:

    Your incessant driving is reminding me of our cross country moves.🙂 With 3 cats, we couldn’t take our time or get off the road and see any sights. You may as well be moving, too, the way you’re zipping along. Of course, we enjoy Florida because of the beaches, Disney, and cruise ships but that may not be your thing. But I do admire you for all you’ve done in your Bug and your tent, and stops in motels, and meeting friends. You’ll probably realize the impact of it all later. It’s sometimes hard to know it in the moment. And I agree with the comment about the need to think and act on foot – that’s primordial – think Julia Cameron of the Artist Way.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m still zipping along. The two campgrounds I checked on were full. Spring break, Easter break, and a couple of days of gorgeous weather shut me out. So I kept driving. I will probably have to break down and make reservations for the Everglades and Dry Tortuga, even if it means adhering to a schedule, because those are two of my main reasons for heading to south Florida. Funny, I never even considered Disney or cruises, but I did go to Pensacola Beach today.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

      • Kathy Says:

        Well, there’s a campground at Disney called Ft. Wilderness. We enjoy it – a nice relatively quiet spot in the middle of Disney World but probably busier than your other campgrounds. And I imagine, it’s probably especially busy now.


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