Sometimes I get a hankering for an adventure. You know what I’m talking about, right? A deep itch for something different? Not a vacation. The word “vacation” infers that daily life has worn a rut in my soul and I need space from my everyday. No, my every day remains a delight. I don’t need to “get away.” I need a throw of the dice. A haphazard gamble of a trip with a destination and itinerary unknown. So I’m taking one.
The New Jersey Turnpike is more beautiful than the name implies. Inky bands of freeway nestled into tufts of dark emerald trees–it’s as eerily sweet as black licorice ropes in absinthe and just as surreal. With a new traveling playlist of obscure road songs by well known artists, I’m sitting in the passenger seat blinking at the divider lines and wondering at the miracle of lightning bugs sparking up the deep woods in a show that guarantees that holiday lights will always be second class citizens to the miraculous sizzle that is Mother Nature. It is all at once a petrifying and dangerously inviting way to start a magical journey.
The French have a phrase, “L’appel du vide” which translates literally as, “the call of the void.” It refers to an instinctual desire to jump off of the edge of a high place. Psychologists actually call it “High Place Phenomenon.” I haven’t jumped off of a bridge yet today, but I like to imagine that the distance between where I am and where I am dreaming of being is less a continental length, but rather, a soft place where I will fall if I can just put my head around getting to the top of the cliff and jumping over the edge.
Today I’m jumping. And since I always leap with my eyes open and my arms outstretched, I’m pretty sure that I can fly. I’m trying to jump to Spain to catch a bull running in Pamplona and get close enough to smell the paint fumes of a few Picassos but if the wind changes, I might end up in Germany hiking through summer fields to a castle and cooling my toes in a river while drinking icy beer. If you are raising a glass tonight, I’m toasting to jumping. And to grand adventures. May your feet find wings and your heart have the courage to strap on a parachute.