Roads are powerful things. There are approximately eleven million miles of paved road in the world that connect every place and every person, posing an infinite number of possible realities. As we travel different ones, experiencing new environments, situations and people, the core of who we are at the deepest and most basic levels is being slowly built. At every decision point, there lies before us a new set of possible roads stretching out from our feet in all directions, all with different outcomes, and when we finally choose one, that road becomes our truth. Once we take that first step forward, everything that happens along that road from that moment on, including the destination, indelibly shapes the story of our lives and others and directly influences our character and personalities. The gravity of this reality could keep one with their feet planted firmly in one place, afraid to take new and unpredictable roads, and some do. And then there are others, like myself, who have come to peace with this reality, understanding that our souls are scattered in waiting across the earth and, whether through rain or sun, our roads are the key to finding it.
When I first began traveling, I threw myself to the road with brute physical force, meeting the world in return on its physical terms. Without control of my emotions, a plan, or a connection to the journey itself, I labored and bled to my destination, kicking my flat tire, cursing the construction zone and moaning as time seemed to slow down as the mile markers ticked by with slow and painful rhythm. I reached my destination, seemingly crawling the last few miles on my hands and knees, taking nothing from the road that had brought me there but the physical and mental toil that made me want to sleep for a day and never drive a car again.
I learned quickly that if I was going to travel, I needed to be mentally sharp and prepared. So I started researching my routes ahead of time and developing better travel plans. Taking my new strategy to the road, I turned my energy towards making myself a more efficient and savvy traveler and as I did this, I began to fall deeply in love with the journey. I began to feel my normal life disappear as my wheels touched a new road and a new, challenging and unpredictable adventure unfolded before me. I began to let go of my anxiety and stress and I started to welcome each situation, good or bad, for the sake of the experience, eager to gain just a little more travel moxie. Like watching a symphony and listening to its colors, I would get lost in the endless and ever changing landscapes and relentlessly absorbed the places, cultures and people along the way. I became an expert traveler of roads and roads became my drug.
For years I tore through thousands of miles of road, my eyes wide and crazy. Some of those roads were short trips and others were life changing moves, but they sourced from the same nomadic and rebellious fire within me. The problem with fire (personal and professional opinion), is that you usually can’t control it. So as I blazed blindly back and forth across the country re-arranging my atoms, constructing my individuality, facing my fears and drinking from the fountain of life, I failed to see how my reckless indulgence with the road was leaving in its wake heart-broken people, unfinished stories, and half-realized dreams. A blackness was seeping into my soul and i started to feel empty and guilty as the reality of my decisions manifested tangibly and the light from all the good I had experienced began to fade forcibly against the overwhelming dark.
I knew I was missing something. I knew I had been missing it for a long time whatever it was. So I did the only thing I knew and took to the road in search of answers. A couple thousand miles, a fist fight with my brother, and a broken heart of my own eventually led me to the middle of the Superstition Wilderness in Arizona, where I stood in front of an ancient Native American petroglyph of a medicine wheel. The medicine wheel: body, mind, emotion…. spirit. My missing link. I realized at that moment that a soul could never find peace and fullfilment unless those four things were balanced in harmony.
Finding and understanding that spirituality in the road was the apex of my existence. The rest of my life illuminated and my purposes on this earth became clear. Finally, a peace settled into my heart. I had realized the power of intent, not just for my roads and my life, but in the way my intentions affected those around me. I realized that, when faced with new roads, you must align yourself spiritually, question your reasoning for stepping out onto that path and act with wisdom and integrity. If your intentions and spirit are not pure, then the road will be difficult and wrought with negativity. If your intentions are pure and you step onto new roads in search of the presence of God with the intentions of enriching your life and the lives of others, then from the road you will reap rewards beyond your wildest imagination. These roads to me, are candle-lit, karmic pathways of truth. Truth, because the decision to take them defines my reality. Karmic, because the outcome is based on my good or bad actions and intent. And candle-lit, because sometimes you have to just let go of everything and let your Gods light your path.