On I-70 west, it’s cruise control and audio books until we arrive back in Frisco at our humble abode around 8:00 p.m., a little road weary but enriched by all the experiences.
The song on the radio as we finish our journey is “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John. The lyrics make me think.
“Count the headlights on the highway…”
I picture someone taking the time to gaze down a road and actually count headlights on the highway. The act seems relaxing to me, almost like a meditation. Or, maybe Bernie Taupin had something else in mind when he wrote those lyrics; maybe he imagined a passenger in a moving car, counting each set of headlights as it passed. One thing is for sure: whether by the side of the road or in the car, you can’t meditate on headlights if you’re fixated on a smartphone.
Lessons from the road
Without smartphones, we felt a heightened sense of focus throughout our trip. Free to absorb all that was around us without distraction, we experienced each new adventure and each meaningful and chance encounter with friends and strangers much more deeply.
We also recognized the reason we take vacations is to get away—and that getting away means getting all the way away. Turn it off. Unplug. Disconnect. Decompress. Detox. Cleanse. Whatever you call it, it will be yours.
We’ve come to believe you’re robbing yourself of the full experience of a road trip if you don’t unplug. Road trips have a special impact on the soul. You feel like all the future lies literally in front of you when you’re on the road, and the past is visible out the back windshield. The present is right where you are parked. It’s a very linear feel everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. There’s nothing like it, and the possibilities are endless. The horizon holds adventures in every direction, waiting to unfold one at time.
On the road, in new and unfamiliar places, you often must rely on strangers and your ability to meet, greet, ask, learn, live, and share. I see these social skills in jeopardy with our technology addiction and reliance. I can so easily see a time when real world social interactions begin to feel like work, awkward and daunting. If that future becomes reality, we will have lost something very special about being human, because there is nothing as fulfilling as real connection.
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