“Road Trip” turns out to be a foreign concept, a strange idea easily supplanted by another, more familiar one. “Expeditious Travel,” perhaps.

Originally conceived as a leisurely journey in a comfortable camping car, our western summer road trip has quickly evolved through several permutations, including “tenting in different fields and forests,” “overnighting in a couple of different motels,” and finally, “sprinting from bed to couch” as we raced to visit friends in the Northwest before returning briefly to Pinedale, Wyoming—which in addition to offering all of the civilization one needs, is seemingly the center of our universe this summer and a last wayside on the road home.

Just as I knew in advance that the camping car could well be a purchasing mistake—an idea more attractive in the dream-state than when realized, so too I knew in advance that a road trip might prove not be our favorite thing. But we were both willing to give it a good go, and so we went.

For many people (Nuris) the idea of traveling long distances just to see what’s between two points is, well, pointless. To this way of thinking, the whole point of traveling is to get from “Point A” to “Point B.” Anything in between is an impediment. This is a reasonable position to take through much of the deserted western United States, terrain to which I mercilessly subjected my wife for weeks on end. (Of course I exaggerate, but not much.) For others (ahem) the idyllic byway cruise can begin to feel overly full, what with driving, directing, navigating, translating, and such. More, I think, than either of us had realized or bargained for. And now we’re done.

The feeling as we prepare to head home is familiar–sort of like the feeling one gets when shedding a camping car.

After my last post a thoughtful friend was kind enough to point out that I was firmly on the right side of the whole “sunk costs” accounting equation when I sold the camping car (that would be the “happiness side” of the equation) and I’m now suggesting the existence of some sort of parallel social calculus that rationalizes cutting short a not particularly pleasant sight-seeing trip. Of course the common factor in both calculations is that “happiness factor,” which, I’m confident, is the whole idea.

So this morning we will gird our loins and squeeze a Honda-and-a-half’s worth of stuff (don’t ask) into a single full-sized Honda and begin to wend our way home with a full summer’s worth of experience and joy under our belts.

I hope your summer has been equally instructive, if maybe with a little less concentrated windshield time.

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