I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel a little stir crazy.
When you’re not allowed to leave your home except to pick up groceries, just the idea of leaving – for any reason or no reason at all is awfully appealing.
So in this age of social distancing, isolation and “stay at home” suggestions or outright orders, I have a suggestion of my own: take a drive.
Unless your state prohibits travel, you’re not breaking any rules. If it’s just you and the road (or a co-pilot you’d have at home anyway) it’s perfectly safe to hop in your car and head out.
And believe me, it can be a lifesaver to break up the monotony, and get you off the couch.
So that’s what Karen and I decided to do. With no agenda, no place to go and no GPS, we packed up a lunch, put Ellie in the back, got in the car and took off.
For a few hours, we drove around Florida, making sure to stick to the backroads and just drive. Heck, we didn’t even know where we were going or how long we’d be gone.
And that was half the fun.
I have to tell you, it took me back.
I can remember when I was a teenager… Me and “the boys” would climb into my best friend’s sedan and just cruise around, tunes blaring, windows down,talking and enjoying the rush of being out and about, with (as the song goes) “no particular place to go.”
I found there was very little traffic, as most people are homebound. And while long commutes are linked to stress, depression, anxiety and tension, ambling around in your car simply because you want to has the opposite effect.
It makes you feel pretty good. Ellie had her head out the window, taking in the fresh air, and giving her sniffer a real workout.
The car used to be seen as an escape. And in this day and age, it can be that again.
It brings back that feeling of freedom. Of fun. Of adventure.
And it can help you come up with a list of places to go when the time returns to stop at each one and get to know your surroundings again.
Even if you’ve lived in the same place for a good long while.
What can be even better? Going at it alone sometimes.
Now I love my wife, but when you’re alone and driving, you think. Really think.
You imagine. You sing along to the music. And you put literal (and unconscious) miles between you and whatever’s bothering you.
A drive can be an escape. One we can all use right now.
Believe me, regardless where you go in reality, it will take you to a new place. You may find yourself a different person once you get home, if only for a little while.
It might be just what you need right now.
Stay safe out there.