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Starting this past Saturday, and continuing for the next several weeks, I am embarking on a series of day trips. 

For one thing, Reagan is not getting any younger. It seems as though she is insistent upon growing up. No matter how much I still see a little girl when I look at her, she is fast becoming a young woman. I won’t always have these days with her. And even if she spends most of the riding time half asleep with headphones on, these day trips are one way for us to connect. Because they are devoted not only to spending time together, but to help us each with our individual crafts.

10. The inspiration

It’s no secret that I love to write about places I go. Reagan has now taken up photography as an art form. She has an eye for the most beautiful shots. She can capture something breathtaking out of something ordinary. But we both need to expand our creative comfort zones.

Mississippi and the surrounding areas are full of possibilities for inspiration. I’m working on a post about this past weekend and will include some of her photos. So day trips are a way for us to collaborate. And it’s awesome to be able to share that with my kid.

9. The freedom 

As much as I enjoy being home, and never get to spend enough time in my own dwelling, I crave the experience of seeing things I’ve never seen. 

And there is a freedom in that. It requires the abandonment and procrastination of certain responsibilities. But we were not made for all work and no play. 

It’s a rush of excitement for me to get in the car, not really know exactly where the road might take us, and just live one mile at a time. Soak it up. Breathe it in. 

8. The quiet

If you can travel with people with whom you can share companioniable silence, it is a rare and beautiful gift.

Day trips are as much about the quiet moments as they are any other. My husband and I enjoyed some laughter as we traveled this past weekend. But there were times of silence. No pressure to maintain a conversation. And it was in those moments that I found my mind creating a host of written thoughts and observations without my even trying. The inspiration came naturally. Organically. Without effort.

The ability to just stay quiet at times helps that process. I don’t remember the last time I felt that happening while putting forth little to no effort. It was bliss.

7. The food

As a self-admitted foodie, there are countless places to try different cuisines across my section of the country. 

I didn’t do a whole lot of looking for places to stop and refuel our bodies for our most recent trip, but I try to steer clear of chains for the most part. Reagan, of course, is 13. She prefers the familiar. But she is getting better about giving the unknown a chance. Even if she gets what she would get anywhere else, everybody cooks their burger a little differently. 

6. The history 

Of the two of us, my husband is the more geeky about history. But the older I get, the more I am fascinated by it myself.  

I think it’s the storyteller within. Because to really understand what I’m looking at in some of the places we visit, I want to know the background. The stories. The how, why, and who. 

I’ll explain more about this as I write about our adventures on the road this summer.

5. The absurd

You cannot, cannot travel in the south, or anywhere for that matter, and not encounter the absurd. 

This trip? Definitely the docent at the museum we visited. I would bet good money the woman was stoned. Or had heard Kermit sing the same song one too many times (it was a Muppet museum with a video of Kermit singing on a loop). 

But one sees many amusing things while traveling. I think they’re all around us really, but we become somewhat immune to the ridiculousness that we see every day.

4. The beauty

I have seen some beautiful places. Plan to see more. Simply soaking up the views of delta farmland or a Mississippi River sunset, or the charming brick streets of an old downtown area are experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. 

There is so much beauty out there in the world. We can sometimes get used to the most breathtaking parts of our own landscapes because we fail to really look at them. But we also forget what is just a few miles outside of our regularly traveled circles as well. I’m on a quest to find and capture moments amidst those places this summer.

3. The escape

Spending time on the road away from the familiar is like getting to be someone else. 

My brain is on all. the. time. I overthink overthinking. 

When I’m traveling, I’m thinking, but it’s a different kind of thinking. It’s wonder, amusement, awe. It’s anything but deadlines and numbers and phone calls and emails. It’s just being. 

2. The connection

This part of the country is my home. It’s part of who I am. Embedded in my very being. My family goes back generations in this state and there’s so much I want to know.

The people who make up these places I visit are my brothers and sisters. Black, white, we are all connected by this little speck of dust on the big blue orb of Earth. I feel that connection when I’m out there, searching, exploring. 

1. The simplicity

There isn’t much to see in some of the little Delta towns. Not to the average tourist, anyway. The Blues Trail is, of course, something that draws visitors from all over the world. But technically speaking, there isn’t just a whole lot in some of these little places that one would think of as fascinating. Unless you know where to look.

Unless you want to look.

And unless you have the eyes and the spirit to see them.

I’ve traveled to many different places and have at least 1,000 more I want to see before I die. So until I’m able to travel with reckless abandon for the rest of my life, I will make the most of making wider circles from home. One day trip at a time.