They made up their minds
And they started packing
They left before the sun came up that day
An exit to eternal summer slacking
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?
It really is one of the ultimate road trip songs.
This song came out when we were in college, and quickly became a road trip anthem. We were fortunate enough to see Fastball play it live last March when we were at SXSW, and the song, especially live, still evokes an emotional response from me.
This whole idea of vagabonding has been weighing heavily on me lately. Ever since I put words to a desire to pack up and disappear for a while, it’s something I really would like to do. Who knows where this inherent restlessness came from? Perhaps it’s just a general dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in the Motor City, and an idea that maybe the grass in greener on the other side of… somewhere.
Maybe it’s just a love for being on the road, and for seeing something new. Maybe it’s the knowledge that winter is coming again (granted, it’s only the end of August, but I think about this stuff) and it will be time to hibernate again, with no more walks through the neighborhood. Regardless, I have been very restless lately. My voyage to an undisclosed location a few weeks ago sated the desire a bit, but it’s quickly resurging.
Actually, I do know where this sense of restlessness really stems from. I haven’t been on my bike in a month. Next week, I will be declaring myself healed enough and ready to ride. Then, I think, I will have reacquired the mobility I’m looking for. It will mark a return to health, and a return to a sense of freedom that I haven’t felt lately.
Getting on a bike trail and ending up miles into the woods is an escape that means more to me than I can say. Like taking a road trip, though, it has nothing to do with ending up in the woods. It’s about the journey, the feeling of my legs working in sync with my bike, and my mind free of stupid banal worries, focused instead on not falling, not breaking more ribs, not taking my head off with low branches.
It’s not necessarily about thrills, adrenaline or endorphins, although that’s part of it. It’s more about having control of a situation. While there are a million billion things that worry me and I have no control over, riding my bike through the woods is a situation I control, a situation where I rely on myself to get where I need to go.
That all comes back to me next week.
For now, this weekend marks another bit of vagabondage. We are loading the car and heading to Chicago with only vague destinations in mind. There are places to go and old friends to hug, but no specified destinations and no defined place to sleep. It will be a weekend of couch surfing on whomever’s couch happens to be closest at end the night.