For most of this trip, each time I wake up, I experience a moment of deep disorientation. I realize I’m either sleeping at a friend’s house or in a hotel but I always pause as I collect myself and try to remember where I am. Generally I list about five states in my head, wondering if that’s where I am… Am I there now or was that yesterday? Am I there now or am I just anticipating heading there tomorrow?
Spending hours driving through each state is helpful in grounding me a bit more to where I am. In a world where transportation is much quicker and easier than it once was, we can be transported from one place to another quite rapidly. The fact that I can travel to all the states in a condensed amount of time speaks to this phenomenon.
Continuing with the theme of place, I have learned that transitioning from one place to another is a significant movement. It has an impact on our physical bodies, our emotions, our minds, and our spiritual beings (in short, it impacts us completely and fully). It is important to mark these transitions. It is easier for us, however to pass through each phase and transition and simply look ahead to what is next (and wondering why angst or other feelings seem to be building up because we haven’t paid attention to the transition we have made).
As I have been travelling, I have found that taking photos, posting photos, journalling and blogging have been key in marking these transitions to each place. I try to stop at each visitor center to take a picture with their state sign. Since I enjoy talking to myself when I’ve been on my own for extended amounts of time, I even try to talk to myself in the accent that is typical of where I am (except it likely doesn’t sound a thing like it and then I proceed to admonish myself to stop speaking with an accent…).
Driving through Florida felt like a really long driving day (the fact that I added two hours to it in the morning by visiting that plantation in Louisiana didn’t help- although it was totally worth it). I saw the Gulf of Mexico for the first time and drove along its coast. I enjoyed super cool cloud formations in the sky. I enjoyed the beauty of the dark and brooding skies warning of coming rain. I loved the intermittent pounding rain as I drove. I was in awe at the beauty of the sunset through the mix of rain and clear skies. I enjoyed all the different types of trees along the road. I pulled over whenever I saw something interesting and enjoyed the feel of moving my leg muscles again.
I arrived at my destination on the coast really late. After a mishap at check-in (apparently they had cancelled my reservation without telling me), I dropped into bed and slept soundly. When I woke up the next morning I was in a blur as to where I was. To get to Florida I drove through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and so it makes sense that it took me a while to remember I was in Florida.
I went for a long walk on the beach. I hugged a couple palm trees (actually). Through walking, it was a good means for grounding myself in the place where I currently was and to continue processing all that has been in my heart and mind as I have gone along. It was helpful in giving myself space to be fully present where I was and to soak it all in.
Grace and space are vital as we transition from one place to another. Whether this be grief & loss and processing everything that comes with it or a regular transition of life from one season to another, it is important to mark these moments and to recognize that they will often have an impact on us far deeper than we initially perceive. One day I was in Louisiana and the next day I was in Florida. And the next day I was in Georgia, but more on that later.