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“…A Trip Takes Us.” May 21, 2013

Posted by Jen Pappas in B-Sides, Poems and Misc..
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“A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” – John Steinbeck

The other day, I finished reading John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley – In Search of America for the first time. I must admit, its left me itchy to travel again and slightly irritated that I have no pending travel plans. Hell, I’ve been married nine months and still haven’t taken a honeymoon. My passport is morose.

As I neared the end of the book, I realized something rather obvious – about reading and traveling. It’s not the immense beauty of Montana skylines and roadside diners that make me want to pack up and go, it’s the endless monologue that goes on in one’s head – that’s what I truly want. On a true journey, one can’t help but feel like a newborn baby, seeing the world and people and signage in archaic fonts for the first time. Everything is a miracle. Wonder, patience, confusion… you feel it all like so many refractions of conflicting light all day, every day. It’s exhausting, but it changes you. Indelibly.

Idle days. Chance conversations. Human connection. Heartbreaking interactions that have nothing to do with you – yet do. This is what Steinbeck’s book makes me yearn for. “I fear the disease is incurable.”