If you ever want to spend some raw time with someone you would like to get to know, take a road trip together. If you consider yourself to be a real thrillseeker, a living on the edge type, then up the ante and take that trip with your dad! I know for many of you, the mere thought makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. You’re probably thinking you’d rather stick needles in your eyes: unsolicited conversations, small gestures, and nuances will inevitably stir up a wide array of emotions. If you decide to be daring, I suggest you wear your big boy pants—these waters can be deep. Ominous. Trust me, I speak from experience. I took a road trip with my dad.
We had a blast—whatever you consider to be a blast. What it means is clearly unique to every relationship. I will probably remember the deep waters we tread. Being vulnerable is never easy. But in times like these it is necessary. Testing the waters with each step and always wondering to yourself, “Is it safe?” Then discovering nope, it’s not safe. But it sure was good, and valuable. Discovering how much we have changed through the years and learning to appreciate who we have become. The things we have in common.
The thing that caught me by surprise was the unexpected joy in silence. Silence offers a reprieve from a story that words can’t provide. Time spent in silence across the wide open panhandle of Texas reveals color and light to have a language all their own. Then something special happens: your internal lens begins to focus, the colors become more vibrant, sounds become sweeter. An appreciation begins to sink in.
Yes, I took a road trip with my father. We started from our hometown in Los Angeles, California, and drove to Austin, Texas. We slept amongst tombstones near Boothill Graveyard, swam in creeks that spilled their guts to anyone who would listen, watched clouds dance as they changed form. We stopped at the roadside stand with the “world’s best jerky”—the hot sun on my face, the warm breeze at my back, and overpriced dried meat stuck between my teeth.
In the end, I accomplished what I set out to do. I got to know my father and I have a real sense of gratitude that came from this experience, one that cannot been seen by the naked eye. Gratitude broadens your horizon like nothing else can.