Here is a quick recap of my travels over the last month. I am currently on the road in Idaho, heading back to Seattle. I crossed the country in July, 6k miles in 7 days. I got home from that trip, had 4 days off before I flew to Dutch Harbor, Alaska for a week. Next I spent a couple weeks working at home. The first week of august, Mike Tolliver and I drove from Seattle to Denver and back. We drove for 2 days there, setup and sold Stancewars merchandise at Scrapefest, and then spent 2 days driving back. I will have 4 days at home and then 6 of us are taking a roadtrip to from Seattle to Legoland in California. Towards the middle of September I will be going back to LA for Stancewars. These are the most simultaneous road trips I have ever taken. There are a lot of things that I have noticed travelling so much across our country.
Seattle is a port city. Port cities are a constantly changing, constantly busy environment with people from all over. We are so used to the hustle, the noise and the constant input. The port brings more people in, who needs houses to live in, and businesses to work at. The pace is fast, hectic and stressful.
Life does not run that fast all over the country.
I grew up in a small country town. Seeing farms, fields of crops and cows was a normal part of my childhood. Growing up in Washington, I saw all that disappear from our towns and be replaced with yet another shopping mall or apartment complex. We do not have much room in the Seattle area. Lakes, rivers and mountains are a prominent part of our landscape and have to be built around. Out here in the middle of the country, there is so much room to expand. I remember driving thru Loveland, Colorado and seeing the car dealership row. Right next to the last car dealership was a large corn field and a farm. Country and city life is blended together out here. We just do not have the room for that in the Seattle area. I also noticed that housing developments are much bigger. People out in places like Colorado and Utah actually have yards for their children to play in. The housing developments in the PNW are so crammed together. If your neighbor farts, not only do you hear it, you get to smell it. I do not understand who would choose to live in a house that is 5′ from your neighbors house.
Crossing the country at such a rapid pace, you see the dramatic difference between a laid back small town and the absolute monster that we call cities. We spent most of the day driving across Wyoming at 80 mph. The sheer amount of open land is impressive to say the least. Driving the i5 corridor from Seattle to Portland, you hardly get any relief from cities and businesses. Our brains spend so much time in the mindset that things need to be convenient, and close together. I spend a lot of my time in the Tacoma area, and people legitimately complain that they have to drive all the way to Seattle (which is about a 45min drive depending on conditions). Out here there are places where the nearest gast station is 100 miles away. Have you ever lived in that reality? Can you even imagine not having access to fast food, delivery pizza and a Redbox kiosk?
I find myself saddened and even disgusted at the site of all this convenience. We have become accustomed to having everything RIGHT NOW! Perhaps that is why people struggle with personal development and relationships. Finding the right job, the right life partner, your own purpose and happiness does not happen overnight. We need to learn to slow down, have patience and let go of instant gratification.
Here is a personal example from last night, where I struggled with constant input and relaxing.
After a long day of driving, a hot tub is a very welcome site. I turned on the jets, which turn off automatically after 15 minutes, and sat down. In a few short minutes, I found myself “bored” and wishing for my phone. I was honestly disgusted in myself that I couldn’t sit and relax for 15 minutes. I sat in the tub and forced myself to relax and just enjoy the water. 15 minutes is not a very long period of time. We are so used to constant input, constant noise, constant stress. That is not a healthy way to live life. I challenge you to put down your own phone for 15 minutes and just relax. We live in a society that created fidget spinners, because people can not sit still.
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