After class, I had the notion to drive. I hadn’t taken a drive and I had bought three CDs I wanted to listen to before I went home to study. I put The Black Keys’ Attack & Release on blast, windows down, and started my drive on the backroads. I didn’t plan on driving home. I didn’t want to go home. I never wanted to go home. So I just drove.
I didn’t drive until last year. So when I got my license, I made a promise to myself that I would go on unknown roads and that I would find different ways to get home. This has been satisfying for my crave of adventure and thrill of the unfamiliar while keeping up with my studies. I have found new places to eat and beautiful scenery to gaze upon and think, “Wow.” The equivalent of what I’m doing are like the discoverers of America who would later come back to their motherland with maps of their exploration. Slowly am I expanding my map with each little drive.
I was thinking where I haven’t explored yet and thought about two locations I kind of knew but still seemed mysterious. I had them in mind and kept driving with ‘Psychotic Girl’ playing in the background. So easily did I drive past my intended destination, but kept going. I still knew the area because I used to go to school here and thought once I reached this old school I would go home to study bio. But once I saw my old school, I just kept driving. I saw other familiar locations and again told myself once I reached this old location I knew I would turn around. I reached the old restaurants I would eat at with friends before band competitions and before Friday Night games. I easily drove past them.
This time I didn’t know where I was going, but it felt right. I still had the Black Keys playing and this ‘keep going’ feeling. Finally, I reached this overlooking ridge that my family would always stop at to gaze at the Appalachian Mountains. I finally pulled over there and thought, “My gosh.” I was nearly two hours away from home and was alone. I got out and looked at the same view my family always did and just felt . . . liberated.
I was always an independent person and to get this far away from everything I know and everyone I know was thrilling. I loved this adventure I wasn’t looking for. I loved the cool air in the midst of hot weather that came too early. I loved how everything was so beautiful right then.
It then hit me, how I could keep driving. I could start anew, something I’ve so desperately craved for. I could get a job and live by myself. I could go forth and never look back. In this moment, where I never looked at my phone, was on my own adventure, independently alone,
In this moment, where I never looked at my phone, was on my own adventure, independently alone, and had a center of peace and joy. . . I was truly me. I was liberated. I was joyous. I was content. And it was so scary. Because in that moment, I would have left without any regret and wouldn’t have thought twice about it at all.
That very thought still lingers onto me like a bittersweet taste and I crave it more each day. I was so bold. I was so free. I was me. I want that unpredictability and thrill. I want to get hurt. I want to laugh. I want to cry as long as it’s genuine, as long as it shows this and this alone is exactly the type of life I should be living. I want that feeling as if I’m in the middle of the world.
“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”