I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled a good number of places since I was a kid. My parents made it clear to us that the world was a big place and more than just our small town. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but they gave us kids the valuable gift of experiencing different cultures and seeing firsthand how people lived, both in the States and abroad.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain
More recently, I’ve been able to visit parts of the United States that I haven’t seen before, Wyoming specifically. And no, it wasn’t Yellowstone or even the Bighorn Mountains (both of which are on the list), but Casper, where I was in town for a best buds wedding.
I drove up from Denver with my kid brother and while we wanted to make good time and were eager to hang out with a friend we haven’t seen in years, we also share an adventurous spirit and are easily distracted with stopping to check out anything that catches our eye.
The best stop of this trip was the Oregon Trail Ruts. We stood in ruts literally carved out over the years by hundreds of thousands of horse, oxen, and wagons as emigrants traveled West. A seriously historic place that we had all to ourselves.
Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true. There was one other person besides the two of us, an older gentleman* with a Dodge truck and giant camper who was traveling all along the Oregon Trail. Hats off to that guy.
I apologize for the long winded post but I’m basically saying this: it’s ok to take the highway but don’t be afraid to venture off and see what you see. I can be a strict planner and even I know how important it is to remain flexible and allow time for whatever may come up. Don’t rush to make the 3 PM check-in at the hotel, it’s not worth it.
*Fun fact: We ran into the Oregon Trail Ruts guy at the laundromat in Casper as he was passing through. Small world and fun to catch up with a fellow traveler.