While staring out of the car window on our never-ending road trip across the vast freeways of America, I realized the nature of our journey had gifted me a wealth of time for reflection.
I thought about grad school with a shutter of anxiety. At the beginning of the year, I felt like an exhausted marathon runner at the end of a race with muscle fatigue turning my limbs into noodles. To be honest, I knew the finish line was close, but knowing this didn’t help my suffering.
Sleep deprivation, time management and maintaining a social life were all part of a crazy jigsaw puzzle that I struggled to see how they fit together. My self-worth was hijacked by doubt and I wondered how I was going to feel normal again.
After graduation, I took on more hours at my restaurant job. I waited tables with the same joy that children have when they realize it’s summer and they don’t have to go back to school for another two months. I took my beach sarong to the park with a large can of coconut juice and a book and pretended I was on an island, basking in the sunshine while a love story carried me far away.
By the end of the summer our empty apartment echoed our excitement as we packed our bags and loaded up the car for our road trip.
Our little purple champion tiptoed over steep California and North Carolina mountain passes in the slow lane with semis, braved through a hailstorm in Texas, and persevered with our haphazard maneuvering through crazy traffic jams in Boston, Atlanta and Houston.
The spontaneity of the trip, the slow pace of the car, and the beauty of the landscape of the United States was exactly what I needed. The journey helped me to reflect on the past year and realize with gratitude that I am capable and strong.