This past weekend, I took a road trip to see the family. a very long 9 hour road trip to the lovely Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin. Oh how I love the singular fabulousness of a sign that says “Cheese Hut” or “Cheese Shop” with a huge mouse out front! You Wisconsinites know exactly what I am talking about! Some people hate those kinds of drives. I find them cathartic. I do my best thinking behind the wheel with nothing but flat prairie or rolling hills ahead of me.
You see, I really needed this road trip. I needed to get out of the city and back to the country. I needed to get away from St. Louis for a while; leave it all behind and eat cheese curds from the cheese shop and hang out with family. Nothing better in my book than time with the family and GETTING AWAY!
Kind of funny though, getting away isn’t getting away at all. As we cruised to and from our destination, I was struck with just how much we take with us. Now don’t misunderstand; I don’t mean bags and luggage and coolers and pillows and stuff. We do bring tons of that because we have practice in the art of the road trip. But I mean how much of the people, ideas, sayings, music, and spirits of those who are or have been part of our lives stay with us wherever we go.
My conversations with my sister and niece are always ironic because we joke that we are becoming our parents! We hear our mother and grandmother’s advice coming out of our own mouths. The eyebrows and the looks I give are my father’s mannerisms through and through. The way we raise our children, what we value, how we spend money, how we pinch pennies, what flowers we grow – all influences of the people we were raised by.
On the way home, I also started to think about some other gifts we take with us and what my son will take with him. What has he been learning, what is important to him, what will his biggest influences be? Will it be the music we listened to, the video games he plays or the sports he enjoys? Will he love a good Cheese Hut too?
We are the sum of all of our experiences. We can’t get away from them or deny them. By doing so, we only deny parts of ourselves and we take away part of our own personal power. Acknowledge these experiences, embrace them, learn from them, be emboldened by these experiences, because you always take them with you wherever you go.
Here’s hoping you find more of yourself on your next road trip!
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