Reorientation: SW and Left

So I am planning a road trip.

(Embarking soon! In less than a month!! In early October!!!)

Destination/general direction: Southwest.

My reading choices these days are reflective-indicative (or is it formative-influential? probably both) of this: read The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey (Che Guevara) this summer; finished Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness  by Edward Abbey just today and only a few hours afterwards started Don Miller’s Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road (intro + one chapter in); picked up Jack Kerouac’s On the Road from the library today, too. Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom is on hold and (presumably) now on its way to join the other smorgasbord of vagabond literature, as is another Miller: Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance: Finding God on the Open Road –whose title, incidentally, I strongly suspect to be playing on that of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:  An Inquiry Into Values, which is an older book and one that is also on my list, thanks chiefly to its mention by Henri Nouwen in his Genesee Diary (which I relatively-recently read last fall/winter, and consider to be closely related to these other works mentioned here, at least in terms of my reasons for choosing each of them – they’re thematically connected…)

So many books! (Always.)

Some other preparations:

  • I bought a car! My first ever, and a Subaru Outback at that. (Living the dream!!) 204, 000 miles already put on it and all. How I came across the car in the first place is a story in and of itself, but one which I won’t tell here – or not now, at least. (I’ve already told it in person to a few friends and family members, and perhaps that in itself is enough for that tale for now, or enough to sate my own desire for its telling.) Suffice it to say, throughout the summer I have been saying in faith “In the fall, I am going on a road trip!” and making said declaration without owning a vehicle, trusting to Providence or Fate or the Universe or whatever you want to call it when things just line up for something you desperately want to do…and wallah! I providentially came across a promising car, which I am now grateful to own. Here’s hoping it proves a good purchase! And a road-worthy chariot…we’ve dubbed it Walter (native name: Wanakena), as in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and in honor of its Adirondack roots…
  • Gathering information from friends who have done similar exploits to what I hope for this trip previous to me.
  • I’ve been meaning to start making a lot of granola for us-fuel on the voyage. Haven’t gotten around to it quite yet.
  • Looottsss of Google Map viewing and contacting contacts who have contacts and planning and plotting and…such. (Anyone out there willing or know somebody who would be willing/is also located in the general West-ish area, uh, out West, to offer 2 girls a couch to crash on for a night or two or the like — let me know in the comments!)
  • Researching National Parks, esp. in Utah.
  • Updating my Couchsurfing account/profile.
  • Asking experienced friends for dumpster-diving tips.
  • Making/going over packing lists with my co-partner in this venture.
  • Compiling roadtrip music playlists.
  • Annnd, (as you can see) blogging, journaling, note-scribbling, and otherwise writing, and, as always, incessantly thinking, thinking, THINKING…! About anything and everything, especially things metaphysical — about Meanings and Purposes and ideals and philosophies and Traveling and humanity and me, my own life and identity and all that stuff that can suck you right in until you, almost literally, can get lost in your own head. (One of the many reasons I’m feeling the need for this trip — to just get out there and DO something, more, and not just dream and THINK about it! Books aren’t enough anymore. Not even close…There is a hunger for my real, own experience.)
  • And praying. (These days, mostly just the Jesus Prayer, a favorite of pilgrims and travelers: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.)

Because this is meant to be a spiritual journey as much as its going to be a physical one. (As everything almost always seems to be with me, anyway…I’m learning to accept it more and more. And embrace it — without also overdoing it. Balance! The Golden Mean! “With acceptance cometh peace…!” And blah blah blah ad naseum.)

More to come on those last few bullet points and paragraph to come soon, I’m sure. Most likely largely (as always) for my own sake – posting about those things further, I mean. Whether or not/how much others read about them is of course up to those other individuals. But I’ll be putting some more words out there, at least. Though, “Where there is an abundance of words…” Finish the proverb if you know it. Lord, have mercy…

In other news, I am now officially no longer a Republican! Woohoo!! (Though, to quote my dad, “Why you would want to leave the party of Lincoln is beyond me.”) Haha, it’s been a long time coming…I haven’t been one (a Repub) in spirit for many moons now. And I think I was at my most passionate point in my affiliation w/ the GOP when I was about 6; it was then I cried when Bob Dole lost the presidential election. As if I even knew what was going on, or what difference (if any — let’s be honest) it would really make…So I peaked in my party loyalty nearly 2 decades ago now.

Why Republican in the first place? (In case you’re wondering.) Because it’s just inevitably what you register as when you grow up a Puddington, in a largely-white rural county at that, and are still 18, fresh and young and haven’t been to college yet and so have not yet received the enlightening benefits of a liberal arts education, and just plain don’t know any better yet…does all this sound a bit too striving to be self-justifying? (Yes. Yes, it does.)

Anyhoo, even finding my county’s Board of Elections today to submit my updated voter registration form (and save on a stamp instead of just mailing it in) was a quest in itself. But with proper perseverance — success! Yessss.

I did also have this moment of deliberation in the library parking lot, as I was sitting there in my (my!) Subaru, filling out the paperwork I had just printed using the public library’s computer: Do I join the Democratic Party or not? (A not-so-negligible side-benefit of this choice being that inner buzz of feeling slightly rebellious and officially a True Individual – politically, at least – among the members of my immediate family.) Or another party – the Independent Party, for one, sounds pretty inviting…and ooh, Green Party?? Sounds like something I could be really on board with, in theory at least… Essentially, do I retain rights for primary election voting for one of the two main American political parties, or do I make some sort of symbolic gesture — such as registering with no party affiliation at all, making an ink-and-paper stand stating (or, quite literally, going on record) that I am neither here nor there…though I do want to belong somewhere…as do we all (which is part of the whole point of party politics in the first place, I believe – the question of and desire for belonging, and our disparate understandings of what “belonging” does and ought to look like…). As I told my mom the other day, if there were a “Conservative” chair and a “Liberal” chair placed side-by-side, then there is also a perfectly Bekah-sized space smack dab between the two that I fall into, pretty much Every Time…agh. The political no-man’s-land angst of one’s twenties. (Or no-woman’s-land, if you will/are of that particular leaning/political persuasion, yourself… 😉 )

Sooo, what choice did I make? Which (if any) party did I newly choose?

I’m not telling. Partly because I like privacy (ironic to put on a blog like this, I know); partly because I’m naturally somewhat more reserved/cautious about declaring those sort of things publicly, personality-wise, in the first place; partly because it just plain really doesn’t matter (except for, everything matters, so this does, too) or signify much worth noting one way or the other — it doesn’t make a REAL difference.

Partly and not least because I’m enjoying the idea of teasing you and retaining a certain air of mystery about my “official” politics (for those family members who actually read this and even care. Or just for the idea or feeling of it, for myself. Yup. I can be one of those people sometimes. In search of the right kind of feeling…Lord have mercy.) Though I think one’s party affiliation is actually a matter of public records. So there’s that.

And lastly because I very well may go back to the Board of Elections (now that I know where it is: hard-won knowledge) tomorrow, or next week or whenever, and change it again. I can’t be sure. Even now, I’m waffling…Only, I won’t return to being registered as a Republican. That I do know for sure. (No offense, Lincoln.)

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