My Uncle Allen always tells me, “Just keep putting those forks in the road for yourself, and then take a risk and pick one—pick the one you think is the best one for you at the moment.” He tells me to keep doing what I’m doing, and by doing so I’m creating opportunities for myself, and I’ll never look back on my life with sadness or regret, because I’ve made the most of it, and I’ve enjoyed the ride.
Recently, I found myself forging another fork in the road and faced with the opportunity to choose a path to go down. Choosing which path was difficult, but there I went, 2,000 miles back to the City of Angels. It seems my life keeps comically taking me in circles. I grew up performing, and so when I went to law school I initially tried my hardest to avoid the entertainment and music industries; but alas, it seems my passion for it was too great to ignore and I was drawn right back in. Then I decided I’d pursue my dreams outside of the City of Angels and head for Music City instead. 4 years later, I’m back in Lalaland, still continuing the dream.
I ended up driving back myself, which turned out quite nicely. I’ve done this drive so many times now it seems practically like nothing. I just got on the 40 West and took it all the way back to California. Except for the intense back ache that always ensued after about hour 7, the drive was really easy. I was surprised. I was worried, because every other time I’ve driven with someone, I remember always getting sleepy after hour 4, and switching off. Maybe that was just because I knew I had a crutch so I wasn’t afraid of becoming sleepy.
Anyhow, the first leg of my road home was 14 hours from Nashville to Amarillo. I woke up early and left while the fog still hugged the trees and the ground, but the sky above me was blue and clear. I could still see the moon and she comforted me as if she was smiling at me, reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. And there I went, chasing the sun west.
This particular route I had done twice before, because it’s the most direct route, so it was a bit cozy. And though being by myself was a little intimidating, it wasn’t terrible, because Cracker Barrel always made me feel safe. Ha. It was my designated pit stop. It always is. I stopped to eat at one outside Oklahoma City, and I broke Lent so that I could indulge in my beloved blueberry pancakes for the last time…well, for a while. It was fabulous. Well, it’s always heavenly as I’m enjoying it, but give me an hour or two and I’ll feel it on my hips. I mean, I’ll literally feel discomfort in my hips. It’s really weird. It’s like my body telling me, “You ingested high fructose corn syrup and who knows what other kinds of fillers! Blaahh.”
It’s once I get to Oklahoma that I feel like I’m almost home. But Amarillo is the midway point, at which time I feel like I’m practically home. As soon as I got out of my car in Amarillo, the smell of cow invaded my nostrils. I thought, “Well howdy to you too, Texas.”
The next morning I was up and out early for a nine-hour drive to Flagstaff. I almost forgot how much I love driving through Arizona. There are teepees and dinosaurs in the most random places along the highway, and sometimes together! There was one scene I came across that looked like a group of veloceraptors had trampled over a set of teepees. It’s quite funny. You’ll find these in eastern Arizona. I highly suggest you take a gander and yonder that way one day just for a bit of amusement.
I also don’t know why I’ve never noticed how pretty Flagstaff is. I don’t remember there being so many trees. Due to the time change, I got there at 3pm and could have gone exploring a bit, but 1) I was too pooped, and 2) I felt weird driving around more than I needed to with a car packed full of stuff. So instead, to try to shake off some of the glumpiness I was feeling, I went to the gym. The gym at my hotel was extremely tiny and all the equipment looked like it was twice my age. It’s funny. Even after 9 hours in the car, I still had no desire to stand, so I biked for 20 minutes, but then I thought I should really walk if not run, so I walked on the treadmill at an incline for another 20 minutes. Then I went upstairs and did some ab work in my room. That made me feel better. I think I knocked out pretty early that night.
Well, I got up early again, so I headed out after breakfast. It was FREEZING! I forgot how cold it can get in the desert. It always surprises me, because it’ll be nice during the daytime, but then at night or in the early morning hours it becomes bitterly cold.
And alas, the last leg home. The fun part about driving cross-country, is that you can cruise control it at, at least 85mph most of the way. 85/90mph was a good fuel-efficient range for my car. There were times when the road was so open I practically took flight though. I tested my car at 110 mph a few times. It’s exhilarating. A bit scary, but exhilarating. And then one time, the road was so straight and flat and there was nothing ahead of me that I could see everything very clearly for miles ahead, so I took her to 120 mph for a brief second. I was too scared to go faster—I think mostly because I was afraid of a cop car being camouflaged somewhere, even though I knew there was no chance, because it was very clear that none lied ahead or behind me. But still…
So yeah, it’s great until you hit Barstow in California. Suddenly there are multiple freeways and suddenly it’s like the world began to exist, because I could no longer cruise on cruise control. Boo. And then it was like, I’m so close yet so far away, because traffic made this last leg feel so much longer than any other part of the trip.
But alas, I made it home, unpacked my car, then quickly took my car for a good wash. I really hate scrubbing the bugs off the windshield and front bumper, so I didn’t. Normally, I make my driving buddy do it, but as I didn’t have one this time, I figured eh…it never does much anyways. The best I did was super squirt my windshield with the built in squirter. However, as soon as I got back, I couldn’t fathom leaving the massacre of dead bugs on my car any longer than necessary. So, I took it to get the best wash it’s probably ever had, and then let it breathe in some ocean air. Ocean air is one of my favorite smells in the world. It comforts me like a baby’s blanket.
Then I was asked how I felt being home. I said I didn’t know. It’s like when people ask you how you feel on your birthday—not really any different. It seems almost strange that I was able to so quickly pack up my life in Tennessee, almost like it didn’t really ever exist; but at the same time, I’ve built such a foundation and home there, that I don’t feel like I said goodbye. And I didn’t say goodbye to anyone or anything, because I know I’ll be back. I’ve got roots there now. And I’ve got friends that are like family to me there now. So it’s never goodbye. Just see you later.
And I think I’ve finally learned that home will always be home, but it may not always be my only home. And as long as I keep creating forks in the road, who knows how many homes I may make along the way; but the fact that I can have several homes is pretty wonderful.
In case you weren’t sure, the two things you should take from this:
1) Stick a fork in it! And then stick another fork in it! Just not in the way we normally use that euphemism. Create opportunity upon opportunity, and don’t ever settle in life. I don’t mean be a nomad. I mean don’t settle for the path of least resistance. You can stay in your same zip code all your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring about it. Duh.
2) Go see the teepees and dinosaurs in northeastern Arizona.
BIG LOVE & HUGS