“Thus fares the land, by luxury betrayed,
In nature's simplest charms at first arrayed;
But verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;"
- Oliver Goldsmith, A Deserted Village
What I learned on my recent 3-week roadtrip is something I haven’t worked through. I didn’t keep a daily journal, so I already have some trouble remembering when I saw some strange never-visited cities in the vast American heartland - Billings Montana, Rochester Minnesota, Albert Lea South Dakota; Coeur D’Alene Idaho, Missoula Montana. I have millions of pictures of the sights I saw. Putting into words the things I learned will take a while, and might be facilitated by forgetting some details.
But meanwhile, the single most important thing I learned is that you CAN come home again – just don’t expect it to look like the land you called home as you grew up. After living in this place for most of my life, I think I have finally come home.
I have been reading Tony Judt’s “Ill Fares the Land” which got me searching for the Oliver Goldsmith poem A Deserted Village quoted in Judt’s title, and in the title of this post. Which got me thinking about what I saw and did on our roadtrip home from Atlanta to San Diego via the northern cross country highways. What we ever did before mapquest navigation, urbanspoon, radar weather and other magical apps like Talking Carl, not to mention the legendary Nascar app and the mythical app to find Christian churches, I will never know. Well, I did know once, but can’t remember. Nor can I imagine travel without my iphone. We checked in via the Book of Faces and this will help me to reconstruct our trip and match cities to pictures. Of course J (my travelling companion) took pictures with an iphone and thus has them ready to post to Flikr complete with tags showing date and location of picture.
But to get back to the blogging of RoadTrip2010: Two Californians Venture Across the Badlands in November. What were we thinking? I can attest however, that we are both outspoken, and posses (arguably intermittently vacant) minds, and that we laughed loudly.
As I read The Deserted Village, I saw a number of parallels between our road trip and the sights awaiting native of fictional Auburn who returns to his blissful childhood and finds it lost. Disclaimer: I have had my poetic license revoked for failure to distinguish cliché from wisdom, intentional torture of metaphors, and negligent spelling and grammatical fauxes pas. Nevertheless, I intend to post about the Roadtrip for a while as I digest the things to be remembered, forget the things to be forgotten, and try to blog what I might have learned and/or lost.