And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Psalm 84:5
Greetings Ladies. Each time I travel alone I get feedback, questions and comments. I have been considering your questions and want to write about it. Each of us is created differently. The reason some of you would not travel alone is not fear, but for many it is. Some women would simply not want to do it. Whether I want to or not is not in question; it is my life now and I will go with it.
Before I got married, I did travel quite a bit throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. I had traveling out of my system, so to speak, and was set to be a stay-at-home wife and happily so. Being a stay-at-home wife was not what God had for me. Prior experience helped me navigate frequent travel throughout my marriage. Oh, how I longed to just be a stay-at-home housewife. Are we ever content? When spending regular time with the Father, He gives us thoughts and asks us questions. More than once, I think I heard Him asked me, “Would you really have been content in your home, in one place, all these years?” More than once, and sometimes with laughter, I claimed this verse: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11 Contentment is a learned thing and it may take a lifetime, but is worth the effort.
Let me tell you about my recent trip. About 2 months ago, I received a “save the date” postcard for a golden anniversary celebration at a church in South Carolina that I am very close to. The official invitation came and then, an email invite. I was excited, but as time drew near, I began to feel trepidation. I needed to RSVP. I sat down at my desk to write an email, explaining that I would not be coming. I could not write that email; I knew it was wrong. There was no good reason to decline. Instead of declining, I sent a note that I would see them soon. That I made the effort to go was almost glorious. Celebrating with the church family and “girl time” with my friend of 25 years there. How could I have even considered missing that? That little voice that tell us that we do not want to do things, to live, must be silenced and frequently silenced!
Because I was traveling into South Carolina, I decided not to come straight back. Several more hours north I could visit the Ark Encounter again and the Creation Science Museum again. I would stay in the same hotel Harry and I stayed in a couple years ago. Settled, but sensing a little uneasiness that I could not put my proverbial finger on, I continued with my plans. On the way home from my church on the Wednesday before I was to leave Florida, I decided to call my friend in Tennessee. A long-time friend that has often encouraged me to come for a visit anytime. I called her that night! My itinerary was fixed days before I was to leave for the anniversary service in South Carolina.
Car trip travel has its advantages, as does traveling alone. No shortage of space and only one person to prepare for. I would not need an oil change until I returned, but filled my washer fluid and gas tank up. I made sure my flashlights were charged and ready. I don’t carry tools, but I carry kitchen shears and a knife. Not for protection, but to cut cheese if I need to. My main provision for safety is my faith and confidence in Christ. And I take that very seriously.
I don’t carry snacks, but I leave each morning with a great thermos of coffee. I do carry a small coffee maker reserved for travel. I never use hotel coffee makers. Ever. While traveling I do fit in short breaks to stretch, either when buying gasoline or meals, but also I pull into rest stops and scenic view places if they feel safe.
For travel, I eat simply but sufficiently. I buy good burgers and eat them, without the bread. Same plan for breakfast, egg sandwiches, toss the biscuits. There are many reasons to pass on the bread, but when traveling, I will give you a couple more. If your feet swell, they will not swell as much if you forego bread, pastas and other refined goodies like that. Breads, pastries and so on will also make you sleepy and less alert. I felt fabulous as I traveled and it was, in no small part, because of these choices. On the way home, I drove right by the hotel I made reservations to spend that night in. A few hours earlier, I knew that I would not want to stop so I cancelled reservations a couple of hundred miles in advance. That would mean I’d have to drive a total of 650 miles that day, which is very realistic. If you are groggy, the last 200 miles are dangerous and complete drudgery. Because I felt strong and alert, I decided that when I emptied my car, I’d rather do it in Florida than Georgia. Years ago, Harry and I made a decision to avoid ridiculously long trips, and began aiming for 500 miles as an average, so 650 is not difficult if you are not sleepy.
I planned for my time in the car. I knew that within a week, I’d be driving over 30 hours. The first day I drove, I listened to musical playlists that I had with me. I began with Instrumental Classical Hymn music. I switched to a novel for awhile, an audiobook. It did not hold my attention. You know this after you have to restart it several times because you realize you are thinking about something else. I listened to the Piano Guys, and other cello music. I listened to Rush Limbaugh for a couple of hours, but decided to make my time in the car one of edification and I switched back to an audio book entitled “Amazing Love.” If I felt sleepy, I changed it up again. I want to tell you, audiobooks are the greatest! Download them from your library to borrow, or purchase them online; the best in multi-tasking: driving and listening to a great book.
I spent a few days in Tennessee with another friend and I do not know which of us was happier. You see, as I left her home to return to Florida, I told her that I almost cancelled my trip to see her and it was my idea to come in the first place! I thought about leaving South Carolina and heading south to home. She immediately responded that she understood and was glad I pressed on. You see, Laurie is a widowed pastor’s wife. She knew exactly what I was communicating. On a side note, Laurie has remarried a terrific man. As I arrived, he was finishing installation of an air-conditioning unit so I’d be comfortable in their basement apartment. A bit later, he instructed her to take me to this great restaurant for a steak dinner so we could visit – just the 2 of us! I mean; what is there not to like about a guy like that?
Ladies, if you have a vehicle with CarPlay, that is a car traveler’s new best friend. It plays anything you have on your phone. It allows you to make and receive phone calls, to text and generally stay in touch. Before I had this, I used earbuds which worked fine, but this was better. If your car has this feature, learn to use it. It was great and I did not bother anyone. Okay; complete truth: I did not have to share.
My journey had 3 days of driving. I enjoyed another option. I have the Faith Music Radio App on my phone and listened to the radio as I drove through Georgia. Eleven2One with Janice kept me company as I crept through Atlanta. These days, options for staying occupied as you drive hundreds to thousands of miles reach beyond those I have mentioned. I enjoyed another luxury. I have had a couple of things on my mind and whenever I felt like it, with a touch of a button, my car would be quiet and I could discuss things with the Lord out loud without having to explain myself. Because of what I chose to listen to, frequently it was praise because I sensed His guidance and direction, literally and figuratively as I drove.
When we are home, it is more difficult to enjoy these moments because we are surrounded by tasks that need done. Prayer time may be scheduled but confined hours in a vehicle allows for flow. It is just you and the Lord. If we make Him feel welcome to be with us, the entire trip will be enriched. We know this, but we must plan for it, or we will do the default. Though I did not precisely plan each thing, each song, I knew that I wanted this to be a time of spiritual closeness and I made choices accordingly. I was not disappointed.
If you are living alone and do not travel because of fear, ask God to remove that and begin venturing out on short trips, even a day trip. Look up a small town. See if they have a good church. What memorials and museums are there? I would probably not do a hiking trail alone, but walking around a city lake is a wonderful thing to do. People-watching from a city cafe is fun; you know it is! These are things that are delightful with a friend, but have their own charm when done alone too. If you have another obstacle that keeps you from getting out to enjoy this country, think of ways to overcome those. Everyone has obstacles, and few regret efforts made to overcome them.
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready. Henry David Thoreau