It’s that rebellious, free-spirited dream — get in your car, point it in a direction, and go.
This October, that’s exactly what I did. With the blessing of my family, I hopped in my green Subaru — dubbed the Daring Mermaid — and headed West.
There were many. Renew my creative inspiration. Follow my inner authority and hear the clear ring of my own voice. Reconnect with family and friends. Hear that deeper calling of what’s next for me. And have an adventure or two.
I called this my Midlife Muse Road Trip, and was determined to set off at the edges of my curiosity and see where it would take me.
After almost a month, I have recently returned. I feel happy, sated in my quest and transformed by the process.
Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. – Ibn Battuta
There is much to say – and I will be sharing in the weeks and months ahead. But more immediately, so many readers and clients have expressed an interest in doing their own Quest/Pilgrimage/Muse Road Trip that I decided to pass along some tips. So just in case your keys are jangling and the car is revving, you at least have a backpack of wisdom to take with you…
Tips for the Inspired Road:
- Set an intention for how you want to experience the trip. I decided that, if nothing else, I would be as fully present as possible. Even if little else went according to plan (and it rarely did), I could at least return to full presence and accept exactly where I was.
- Find a daily creative practice that will deepen the experience. I wrote short, inspired lines capturing fully present moments to active my creative muscle. Nothing fancy or perfect, just a snapshot. (It was so invigorating, I plan to teach a class about this spontaneous art form).
- Don’t get caught up in needing a “pure” experience. Yes, some of us may sit alone on a mountaintop, but many of us have compromises or several goals for the trip. Life is messy. I also wanted to see some relatives and friends, so I let them know my boundaries (time for myself as well as time with them), and I nudged the conversation to areas that fed rather than detracted from my journey when possible. It made the trip more affordable and their reflections of me were enlightening in completely different ways.
- Create a nice balance between flow and structure. A few days in advance, I’d decide where to go next and leave it open to change. This meant I could find an interesting place to stay (it was inexpensive and an adventure to stay in people’s homes through Airbnb by simply renting a room). Along the way I met people like Lora, an itinerant traveler living in the artist’s town of Silver City, New Mexico. We chatted into the night, and by day she let me write inside the old blue school bus parked out in her pasture.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Obviously, it’s kind of a given on a road trip. But there were times I could have stayed in my shell and instead stretched out. I was then gifted with perspectives on life that illuminated where I am in my life and directions I want to go.
- Keep a journal. I’ll say it again, keep a journal. This was essential for capturing my flow of experience. Reviewing it upon returning, I’d already forgotten much of the valuable inner experiences that had insight for me. I am still harvesting them and will be for months to come.
A road trip is just one of a hundred ways we can get out of our conditioned ways of being and thinking and open the window to a fresh, creative perspective on life. (A workshop on creating your personal muse road trip is percolating and there will be lots more to share!).
So if you are ready to open to the unknown and see what gifts are waiting there for you, take that first small step. Find your car keys or your walking shoes. Even if only for a weekend. The whole world is waiting for you…
Have you taken your own Muse Journey? If so, we’d love to hear YOUR tips! Reply in the box below…