by Dave Markwell

Last night I took my first “actual” shower in seven days. My son and I spent a few days traveling around the state, fishing, eating beef jerky and bathing in the lakes and rivers on our path. It was great. We were untethered and unshaven and unconcerned. During our trip, I came to one glaring conclusion: I don’t vacation enough.

Through four simple days of driving the back roads, we reconnected to some of our human roots, as father and son and fellow wanderers of this earth. These connections are important. The road has a special way of connecting us to these things. Exploring the world through a windshield provides a unique perspective. Having complete sanction of when and where we stop is powerful and liberating. It reminds us of what it feels like to truly be FREE.

In a life encumbered by “stuff to do”, this is an important thing to remember. We ARE free. We can choose how our time is spent. It is easy to create imaginary cages where we are bound by duty to do what we don’t want to do. But, these cages are illusions. Certainly, we must work and provide and contribute to the commerce of our households, but we don’t have to do this in a cage. We can choose to open our cell door any time we want. This can occur through a bold act of revolt and changing our world or we can simply change our minds. Both work.

A road trip with a beloved fifteen year old boy is a great way to change a mind. Potential and possibility live in the tar and gravel two-laners spidering in all directions of our great country. Like a country song, the tires hum and the wind blows through the open windows with smells of sage and pine and lake grasses. Worries evaporate in our slip-stream and we get lighter. Burdens are removed and replaced with the truth that we already have it all.

I don’t vacation enough. Because of this, I forget these things. I get tense and uncertain and crabby. My illusory burdens drive my life. I begin to feel like passenger in my life, instead of the conductor. A relatively unglamorous, brief, but beautiful excursion shifted me back into the driver’s seat. I like being there. It’s where we all belong.

As I sit with a cup of coffee on my couch planning my day, my mind looks back to a moment standing by the shoreline of a mountain lake with my son by my side and my fishing pole in my hand. As the sun began to set over the trees and shimmered off the cool, glassy water, I believed in my son and God and myself. And I knew that I have all that I need. We all have all that we need. We just need to remember this.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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