I’m about to head out on the next leg of my journey, and I’m feeling a bit daunted. Up to now, I have had at least a smattering of knowledge about the states I have visited, and I have known people along the way, which has made a huge difference. During the next few weeks, I will be in states that I know only by legend. I will have lunch with two or three people in Florida, and maybe stay a couple of nights with a friend there, but otherwise the coming states loom friendless. Heavily trafficked. Populated by billions of insects. And expensive.
Florida particularly seems daunting because if I merely cut across the state, which is a great distance by itself, I would miss much. And yet, the thought of traveling the length of the state twice (down and back) is overwhelming. Do I want to see the keys? Do I want to see the Everglades? Do I want to attempt a visit to Dry Tortuga National Park, a tiny island closer to Cuba than the United States?
If I were honest, I’d have to say, “not particularly.” There really is no place I’d like to visit more than any other. The truth is, everything is beginning to run together with very few regional differences. Of course the rainy states are greener than the dry states, but those seem more changes in spectrum than anything — the same but different. And people are the same everywhere — mostly kind with an occasional jerk for leavening. There are more southern accents in the south, but there are southern accents everywhere in this mobile world of ours. And many businesses are identical. (I went to a movie theater in Tucson that was identical to the one I had been in a few days and a few hundred miles before. Even the posters on the wall were the same. I had to stop to catch my bearings because for a second, I didn’t know where I was.)
Despite my momentary lack of enthusiasm for this quest (though quest for what, I still don’t know), I am drawn ever onward. There are things to see, people to meet, national parks to visit. And blogs to write.
Daunted or not, I’ll see you on down the road.
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)
My Louisiana friend and I stopped to play on this adult jungle gym. So much fun! The azaleas are from her back yard.