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Life is better viewed through the naked eye and open palm

March 23, 2014

3,300 miles traveled on the road. 50 hours logged in the car. Nine states journeyed in. Mountains, desert, ocean and city stepped in. Four items checked off the bucket list.

Hop on hop offWith two friends and a Chevy Malibu last week, I went from Lawrence, Kan.; to Russell, Kan. (to visit Sen. Bob Dole’s hometown); to Cortez, Co. (stopping in the Rocky Mountains); to the Four Corners Monument; to the Grand Canyon (where we camped); to Las Vegas (just to go through Nevada); to the Pacific Ocean; to Hollywood; to Santa Rosa, New Mexico; to home.

Everywhere we went became an adventure. Everything was picture worthy, from the first view of mountains on the highway to the tumbleweed groping the front of the car.

Grand CanyonAnd take pictures we did. Selfie after selfie after selfie. Photographic evidence that we made it to these places – saw them, touched them, became a speck in their histories. Images for relatives and friends to view. Memories to look back on in five years for a glimpse of life 14 months from graduation.

I didn’t buy anything for myself on this trip, with the exception of chocolate (because obviously). I told myself I didn’t need to buy souvenirs because pictures would help me remember the epicness of this spring break, which is true. But pictures don’t do it justice.

Pacific OceanAfter we reached the Pacific Ocean – the farthest point on our trip – I stopped us on the pier at Venice Beach. I expressed my amazement at what we’d accomplished, making it to the Pacific Ocean. Sure, Lewis and Clark had a more difficult time of it, but I was still impressed. I wanted to pause and reflect on that: that we did it, we made it, and it felt good. We put our cameras and smartphones in our pockets for a minute and breathed in the ocean air, observed the waves crashing ashore, felt the cool wind on our cheeks and didn’t say a word.

That’s the moment I’ll remember. And there isn’t even photographic evidence of it!

Cameras and iPhones are great, and I like my spring break pictures. But, to paraphrase Ferris Bueller, if you don’t stop and put the iPhone down once in a while, you might miss something. (Ironic, isn’t it?)

Seeing the moon in the sky above a mountain in Cortez.

Lying in four states at once at the Four Corners Monument.

At the Grand CanyonKneeling on a rock at the Ooh Aah Point and looking over the edge at the vast openness below in the Grand Canyon.

Touching the Grand Canyon walls.

Watching the sun dip behind rocks and paint the sky rainbow at the Grand Canyon.

Driving through the Arizona-Nevada state line, simply to rectify the GPS not routing us through Nevada.

Walking up to the Pacific Ocean, struggling through the beach in my sneakers.

Sinking my feet into the wet sand and watching the Pacific Ocean envelop them.

Sitting aboard a double-decker bus in Los Angeles and hearing about the iconic streets of Hollywood in Italian in my ears.

Listening to a Holocaust survivor recount his story at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

Friends couchRunning my hand across the couch used for 10 years on “Friends,” a show that has taught me about becoming a functioning adult.

Standing at the podium from “The West Wing.”

Counting the mile markers pass and realizing we succeeded in doing everything we set out to do on this trip.

That’s what I’ll really remember. Sure, I have pictures from many of them, but these moments represent more than just pieces of albums or even lines on a bucket list for me. They all represent moments of discovery and wonder, two things we lose when the main focus becomes documenting the discovery instead of inspiring the wonder.

Getting the perfect picture is wonderful, but allowing the moment to develop in your heart instead of the dark room creates the real money shots.



From → Junior

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