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Living Large

I have a friend who does this cool thing. He has a red convertible and when the forecast looks good, he, his wife, and their daughter take a little day trip. They pull the name of a town in Missouri (their home state) out of a hat, put the convertible top down, and head out for that town. They enjoy the drive, have a look around the town, poke around in the shops, have lunch, and drive back home. The first time they did it, it was a little more random than he had imagined. There was no place to eat.

So now there is a little extra planning involved. He’s done some research on small towns to make sure they have a restaurant or diner. Since they live in central Missouri, he doesn’t choose places that are all the way to the edges of the state. The names are put into a hat or box or whatever and when a good day presents itself, one of them pulls out the name of a town and off they go! Loose Creek, Kimmswick, Cuba, Paris, Bonne Terre, Blackwater, Reeds Spring–a new place each time.

This seems to me a wonderful, fun, and creative way to spend a day. I love the joie de vivre of it! You wouldn’t need a convertible to enjoy the fun of exploring a new town, either. All you’d want is pleasant companions and an openness to small adventures.

“The most visible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself. The ones who express the inexpressible~without brush, hammer, clay or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt~their medium is being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don’t have to draw. They are the artists of being alive…” – J. Stone

My oldest son uses a website called Atlas Obscura–Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations when he travels. Founded by author Joshua Foer and documentary filmmaker/author Dylan Thuras, it catalogs unusual and obscure travel destinations by means of user-generated content. You can search by town or state–or, for a bit more fun, just choose Random Place and find something cool. Who knows? It might inspire a trip you didn’t know you wanted to take! I searched for Missouri and found 122 places. You’ll find stories, places, and food & drink on the website. Anyone up for a Fried Brain Sandwich? Right here in Missouri!

I have another friend, a photographer, who takes road trips avoiding the interstates. He posts photos from these trips labeled as part of his NOTI (Not On The Interstate) Series. He finds great little signs and sights and sometimes meets the people behind them. There are so many creative ways to enjoy our world. It just takes a little thought, a little inspiration, and a bit of imagination. Or you could borrow those things from someone else. Who cares? The fun is real, whether it was your idea or not. You’d just have to have the openness to new things.Road trip season is upon us! Where will you be going?
If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,


P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”
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