Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Ode to the road

To my beloved open road,

It's been a long four long years since I last hit you.

Of course I meant to return to you sooner, but a mountain of nappies grew between us. You see, travel is kryptonite to kidsActually kids find kryptonite in almost everything under the sun, but travel is high on the list.

Something in the way.
Sometimes when I can't stand missing you any longer, I jump in the car and drive up the tallest hill around just to look out at the horizon. Often this makes things worse because usually all I can see is Aylesbury and a bit of fog. But on quiet nights I can hear you purring seductively out on the London Orbital, so tantalizingly close.

I can remember heading out on the highway like it was yesterday. Papa and I drove like the wind through endless rolling plains, past countless dodgy truck stops, up sky-scraping mountains, down lonely scenic byways into the wilderness, past town after crappy town. We lived on the fly; all we knew was that the fuel tank would flatline too soon, and that there would be at least one toothless, oil-stained dude at whatever gas station it was that we stopped to fill up at.

Out west we pitched camp under the bright Milky Way at night. In sleepless awe we listened to crickets sing into the big empty. And to grizzly bears rummaging for midnight snacks in rubbish bins. And to rain drip-dripping right through our waterproof tent and straight onto our foreheads. What joyous comfort it was to rise with the sun and return to strong steel arms, to the gritty smell of petrol exhaust, to the smooth old reliable tarmac.
Hit the road in tooth and claw. 
Planes, trains, broken-down automobiles, blistery hiking boots: so many forms, but always my one true. I no longer care about the right side, the left side, California stops or WTF roundaboutsI can't deny what is between us. The sedentary life simply ain't my bag.

A rolling stone can't sit still forever and I know we'll be together again. Till then my heart will pine after your broad shoulders and your smooth curves; my lead foot will yearn for your high speed limits and your wide open straightaways.

Much love and a little gas money,


PS: This sappy billet-doux was inspired by Honest Mum's far more eloquent love letter to London, and it is accompanied by Polish Mama on the Prairie's dedication to her beloved Wroclaw.


  1. I loved this! I miss the days when hubby and I would hit the road and go into the West Virginia mountain country before kids. But even though we slowed down from weekly excursion to premeditated, overpacked, plan-two-months-ahead excursions, it wasn't the same but it was still great, sharing that joy with our children. We have moved out to the Midwest so there are no mountain drives (broken heart). I hope you find the thrill of that open road soon... Beautifully written!

  2. Beautiful piece of prose and thank you for the massive compliment-so happy to have inspired you and Polish Mama-both great pieces and onces I totally relate to.

  3. Thanks both--likewise I enjoyed both your letters, and found it very good fun to participate in an impromptu linky! Well done HM for kicking that off.

  4. Wow. What compelling writing. I have that wanderlust in my soul sometimes...and then I think of my Grands who are growing so quickly and settle my heart until someday when they are grown and have no time for their Grandparents!

  5. Thanks Jenny! You sound like a super-grandma, and you're right about the little'ns--they grow fast, and the time for travel will come when they are a bit bigger--I always forget this and get itchy feet in the wintertime!