I don’t think I could ever complain about a long car journey ever again. As a child, we used to drive twice a year to Germany from our army house in Windsor. My sister and I fought the entire journey until we were once left on the side of the Autobahn alone. From that moment on, the car was silent.
When we decided to plan our trip to America, we thought that visiting New York, Detroit, Denver, Idaho and Yellowstone was manageable. The reality of it was actually 6 flights in nine days, four days of straight travelling, 12 check ins, six buses, eight Ubers, four petrol tanks, 25 hours of driving, two failed audiobooks, five arguments, 14 bottles of wine, seven hangovers, two weddings and eight packets of Reece Butter Cups (consumed by just me).
From Denver Airport to Rock Springs, the 191 to Ashton through empty landscapes and towns with a grand population of four. Our Ford Mustang convertible took us 1600 miles long and 8500 feet high. We stayed in log cabins with fires and hot tubs and drank wine and fell asleep by 8pm. We woke up one morning convinced we saw a bear down by the river, until binoculars later confirmed it was actually just a lost cow. We saw bisen, moose, horses, oversized tourists, Old Faithful, sunsets, rainbows and sunrises.
All the painkillers came packaged in separate plastic containers. Bear spray shops were in every town but there were no bears. Beers were all twist tops. Liquor was sold in fishing shops and not supermarkets. You have to enter your zip code when you fill up your petrol tank. All highways are 70 miles an hour but no one sticks to the speed limit. There are no speed cameras.
We travelled through Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Colorado. We continuously repeated just how large America was. We made plans to come back and see New Orleans, Kentucky and Texas. But apart of me just wants to keep the memories for this trip and this trip alone.
What I did learn, most importantly, was something about myself. I wouldn’t want to travel with me. I complained about decisions I had freely made. I complained about being sick despite personally turning on the AC. I complained about being sick but refused to eat to fill the void. I was my own worst enemy on this trip. And I really wish, that wherever I travel to next, that my first reaction will always be to say ‘yes’. Because I like yes people. Luckily for me, I had someone with me who did do that. I just hope he waits around long enough to see me change my mentality. To be more like him. Then I think, I would feel complete.