When I found the image above, the shirts sold on the link were out of stock, but I hope that by the time you read this, you'd be able to buy one if you want to. (Click on the photo if you want to try.) On the other hand, I hope that sloths aren't seen as lazy. Sometimes, going slowly is the best pace.
At the same time I had the idea for last week's post, I thought about the advantages of going slowly. As happiness expert Gretchen Rubin says, "The opposite of profound truth is also true."
As I drove across the country, usually at seventy-ish miles per hour, I didn't get off the road much. (As a short aside, did you know that the speed limit goes up to 80MPH in Utah?) I was floored (just like my gas pedal) by the three rainbows I saw one morning in Nebraska, the other-worldly rock formations in Arizona, the view of Las Vegas shooting up out of the desert, and the other stunning scenery in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California, but I saw it all only in passing. Literally. I thought about how much fun it would be to cover the same ground in three or four times the number of days, taking exits to see what was not visible from the freeway. What could I see and experience that way? I believe I would enjoy the meandering.
And maybe I'd come across interesting people. Last summer, on the advice of a friend (Hi, MO!) and every happiness podcast I've ever heard, I tried to open myself up to talking with strangers. On my arrival in Nebraska, for example, I walked from my hotel to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant a couple hundred feet from my lodgings. Since the parking lot was completely packed, I figured the food must be okay. There was a long line to be seated, and I almost left without seeking a table, but when I said that I was dining alone, the host seated me immediately at the counter. I refrained from putting in my earphones or picking up my phone and struck up a conversation. When the host put an older-than-I-am man next to me, I opened a conversation. The man had worked as a White House secret service agent for Nixon, Ford, and Carter. He was fascinating, if politically not in my hemisphere. Now that he's retired, he drives around following no particular schedule or pattern. On that day, he was heading to Utah to see his daughter and grandson, but then he planned to go out to Wyoming to fly fish. He sometimes drives three hours in a day and sometimes ten. At the end of each drive, he drinks a glass of bourbon and finds a nice place to have dinner.
I can see the advantages of his nomadic/peripatetic existence. I imagined driving round with a tent, a cookstove, and my husband, and making a point to see all the cool places, everything that strikes us as awe-inspiring or interesting. Rather than racing to get to the destination, seeing the trip itself as the goal. We have friends (Hi, HW and WW!!) who took the kind of mega road trip I'm describing a couple summers ago. And as much as I love being holed up in our cabin in Maine, I would also love to see the country slowly, enjoying its sights, sounds, and people without a racing clock. Taking our time would be a joy.
Have you ever wandered slowly in this way? Want to share any stories or suggestions in the comments?