When you’re on the road, the scenery is constantly changing. For me, it’s like visiting a beautiful art gallery. You can tune into your thoughts, or tune out to the music. When you stop, you meet an array of interesting people from all over the world. I met people from Poland, The Ukraine, China, and Nicaragua on this trip, simply by observing: “I notice you have an accent. Where are you from?” Your mind is free to gather a wide array of visuals, sound bites and inspirations to store up in your creative reservoir as you drive along taking it all in.
But “taking it all in” was far from my mind when I arrived at Detroit Metro airport. I was feeling down-hearted, because I was there for my foster mother’s memorial. I was also exhausted, since I had to arrive at the airport by 4AM for the first of my three flights to reach Michigan. When I exited the airport, the weather was so hot that it felt like I walked through the gates of hell! But like a miracle, it was: “Melvin to the rescue” in the air-conditioned Hertz shuttle bus. All the way to the rental car office, Melvin sang gospel and R&B tunes at the top of his lungs. He had a wonderful voice and really belted it out. I was in awe of his ability to take what could be a very dull job and turn it into a work of art uplifting everyone he comes in contact with. By the time I reached my tiny red econo-car, my spirits were significantly lifted, thanks to Melvin! The car was comical, like those tiny British cars that Mister Bean drives! My friend’s kid said it reminded him of a gulf cart! But hey, at least it saved me some gas money!
I drove for an hour or so to Williamston, Michigan: the quaint little town where I spent my formative years with my foster parents, the Honeys from age 2-5. The memorial was a beautiful affair and a fitting tribute to my favorite person. After a day to decompress, I was on the road again heading to New Hampshire to visit my best friend, Sonya. It was smooth sailing until I reached the Canadian border. I grew up near Detroit and I used to cross the Canadian border all the time. It turns out that passports have been required since 9-11. Since I didn’t have a passport, I was asked to leave Canada. This meant taking the long way around to get to New Hampshire, which added 6 hours to my trip. (and many extra states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts) I finally got to New Hampshire mid-day, then had one full day with my friend Sonya and her family, only to turn around and drive back the next day! I had my passport mailed to me overnight, which allowed me to travel through beautiful Canada on the way back. Otherwise, I would have missed my return flight.
Even though this road trip went by really quickly, it still allowed me to get a good dose of what I like to call: “Road Therapy.” This is my own special version of personal therapy, and it’s different every time depending on my needs. Its strength lies in having long hours of quiet time with myself to reflect and ask thought-provoking questions. Somehow the changing scenery makes it easier for me to communicate with the deepest parts of my psyche. It takes me to places I can’t reach through traditional therapy. I don’t spend the whole trip this way, however. Sometimes I just crank up the Coltrane and pretend that I am Jack Kerouac for awhile: just diggin’ it all, man!