On reinventing yourself: “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat-Moon (in Blue Highways)
I believe reinventing yourself can happen on the road. As I write this I have a serious case of wanderlust. I’ve been adding travel books to my Amazon wish list, reading travel blogs, and lurking like a voyeur in travel forums.
I’m no longer thrilled with the idea of flying (I wonder who is?). Traveling by train sounds interesting. I enjoyed the trains in Italy. But there’s no way to pull off the road when you see something interesting along the way.
What I really want is to travel the slow, scenic roads by car… the “blue highways”. Over the years, driving trips have defined important markers in my life – a few endings, but mostly new beginnings.
Reinventing Yourself – Some Thoughts about Starting Over
After many years of road trips, I’ve learned a few things about reinventing yourself, whether you’re starting over in a new career, a new relationship, or a new place:
What matters is who you are now, not what you were. When traveling by car, you’re forced to be in the present. You may be anticipating your next fuel stop or where you’ll spend the night, but you’re not likely worrying about where you were yesterday or even an hour ago. You’re constantly moving ahead, not back. As I’ve navigated the various transitions in my life – divorce, deaths in the family, new career directions – I’ve found it helps to slow down and become reacquainted with who I’ve become.
You can’t go home again… not really. Have you ever gone back home for the holidays, only to fall back into old roles and patterns that have nothing to do with who you are now? Family members and old friends have a way of expecting you to somehow stay the same, to forever be captured in the old roles you used to play so many years ago. Are you letting your past determine your future? Let go of what’s no longer working. After all, you’re the only one who can redefine who you are.
It’s up to you to create your own experiences. My ex-husband introduced me to adventures I may never have had the courage to undertake on my own. Things like scuba diving and dancing the merengue. Now I’m with a man who’s content to stay at home. So I’m learning that I’m responsible for creating my own adventures, even if I must travel alone at times. Reinventing yourself requires understanding what you want and knowing how to follow your own heart.
Perhaps more than anything, car trips allow you to savor and discover. To watch the scenery roll by, meet new people along the way, and explore different ways of living.
Reinventing yourself is a lot like slow travel. You have the opportunity to discover your abilities and to explore who you are in new and unfamiliar settings. What a great way to find out what you’re capable of doing and at the same time rediscover your dreams!
Do you enjoy traveling slowly through the back roads? What fresh starts have you found through travel?