I always loved Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”. However, we can’t take all the roads out there. We must have our priorities--and most of us have to budget for them!
Some people just start driving, but I prefer to pre-plan a trip with the option to go elsewhere and/or stay longer. When I look back on the traveling I’ve done, it’s the impulsive getting-up-and-going that stands out.
From South Carolina to Texas
A few years ago, I thought about how, despite living briefly in South Carolina, I’d never visited Charleston. Now, it seemed, was the time, so I found a wonderful package with Southwest Airlines, made reservations, announced my unavailability for munchkin-duty, and took off. Looking back, it was one of the easiest trips I’d ever taken. Staying at the wonderful art-deco hotel, the Francis Marion, in the middle of the historic district, I had access to everything in the area via the free trolleys which came and went from the corner--not to mention a tour that picked me up at the door--and transportation to and from the airport.
Just last November I decided it had been way too long since I’d visited the Stockyards in Fort Worth. A few clicks of the mouse provided hotel reservations in the center of this bustling tourist attraction, airline reservations, and transportation to and from the airport. Once there I enjoyed a free shuttle to and from nearby museums, courtesy of the Hyatt. I could have stayed forever. (Not afforded to stay, you understand!)
Road trips by the day or week
Less expensive road trips provide wonderful options. A day trip just up the road to Mt. Ida introduced me to wonderful folks in a small town as well as “mining” for gemstones a few miles from there. Another time I hopped in the car and took off for Hope, Arkansas, let me wander back in time at Washington Historic State Park (town est. 1824, served as the Confederate capital of AR 1863-1865) Later I drove between three battle sights of a Civil War campaign here in Arkansas--three days, three nights of historical lore.
But the most charming trip I’ve taken recently, one which inspires me to take more like it, took me to the tiny towns of Ozark and Paris. Wandering their squares, standing in front of buildings which I wished could talk, meeting friendly folks who appreciate visitors to towns which have seen better economic days left me with warm feelings. When another stop fell through, I sat in a parking lot and looked at the map--discovering I was only a few hours drive (via the “Pig Trail”) to Eureka Springs, one of my all-time favorite places. I took off! One finds definite advantages to visiting tourist meccas during off-season.
What are you waiting for?
A friend asked, “Where are you going?”
And I replied, “Wherever the road leads.”
Whoever wrote, “On the Road Again” (Willie Nelson sang it!) knew the adventure and delight of the roads yet to be taken.
I’m already making plans. What about you?