The Toll Booth


I use to drive long roads with toll roads and then turn around and head home. I did this with no destination in mind and no purpose.  My only goal was to drive a lengthy distance and go through the toll road.  How is that for jacked the mess up?  It is funny and sad all at the same.  Now, that I’ve typed it to be read, I kind of wish I was lying.

 I was a mere 19/20?  I was a young buck for all purposes.  I was out on my own; my parents had long gone off to Indiana.  I had a falling out with the only friend that I had regular contact with (that lived close) and for all sense and purposes, I was alone.  That was when I first started traveling.  Well, if that is what you can really call it.  Like I said, I drove long roads just to go through toll roads.  Pathetic, but for some reason it gave me a sense of going somewhere.   I desperately needed to feel like I was going somewhere.

 At the time I was running away, but  even now I am not sure from what. I tried to convince myself that I was running towards something, but I wasn’t. I was trying to escape whatever life it was that I had.  Or maybe I was actually just feeding that desire of a spirit within.  There is something about traveling and an open road that fulfills me. At least it use to.

 I took some trips as a kid, but my first trip as an adult was to Houston for a baseball game.  That was my first and only live baseball game or at least as of right now.  It was also the first and last time I would/will purposely travel to Houston. Not a fan, but that is kind of besides the point so I will move on.

 When I left Oklahoma and moved to Indiana, my traveling would increase, but I had a destination by then. We have family in Illinois and so I would go over there and visit. Eventually, that traveling grew into more personal destinations.  I call them personal, because they were destinations that would suit a need for me.

 I would really start to travel in 2002. I went to a concert in Missouri and then I followed that up with a trip to Iowa. Over time I would also visit Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.  Doesn’t really seem like a lot, but it was a lot to me.

 Traveling to all those places was an adventure to me. I had destinations and I was exploring new things.  It released this sense of freedom and I felt like I was something more than a speck in the air. It brought something out in me. Traveling to places I’d not seen before, or even places that I had and finding new things to see while there, was like a spark to the dying fire.  It wasn’t about running away any more and it wasn’t about running towards something. It was more like it was about being true to who I am.

 I am a traveler and an adventurer.  I love exploring and seeing places.  I love learning new things and finding those historical places. I love the thought of experiences all those rarities that so many of us have taken for granted.  There is this need in me to make memories and fill this space within.  I guess a wandering soul maybe. I don’t know how to explain it.  It is like one of those connection things that I keep rambling about.  It is an uncontrollable urge that I just cannot seem to kick.

 At least that is what it seemed like until a couple of years ago.  I hadn’t traveled much since I moved to Ohio, but I still have the uncontrollable urge to run.  Now I’m just kind of seeking that place where I belong and that one to settle down with.  It is amazing how things change as we grow older and maybe just purely grow.

 I took a trip to Missouri in Sept 2011.  It was my first trip in three and a half years. I was bound and determine to make it the best that it could be.    I visited Route 66 and Meramec Caverns. I checked out a ghost cave and went zip lining. I saw my bull riders and my favorite bull rider (in which I finally got a picture that he looked like he actually wanted to be in) and I just had an adventure.  The whole trip was mapped out and outside of rain and getting sick on day 2 it was flawless.  At least compared too many of my other trips it was flawless and yet it still seemed as if something was missing.

 It would take me a little bit to realize that it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy traveling.  I still do enjoy traveling, I’m just a little tired of doing it by myself. I’m ready for that one to share my life with and to go adventuring with me. It just isn’t the same as it was when I was 26 versus 36.  Now, where those open roads use to take me to new places, I hope that it takes me to the place where I belong. The one where that cowboy is waiting to sweep me off my feet and everything starts to fall into place a little bit more flawlessly. I’m ready to find out where that open road ends.

 That seems silly I know.  It even seems a little sad, but it isn’t. I know that all roads we travel are for a reason.  There are lessons to be learned at every turn. Provided my roads have been a little longer than I would have preferred, they have all still been a reason.  I’m still a wandering soul that loves to travel the open road and find that off the beaten path trail to hike.  Definitely still that girl and I’m always a little restless and needing to run.  It is just that now, I’m a little bit more opt to making one last trip down that lengthy road and through that toll road without having to worry about turning around and going back to that life I’m ready to leave behind.


Copyright 2013 (photography and writing)

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