“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” from "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau
In the fall of 2015, I was suddenly thrust from a job I dearly loved. Here I was, 52-years old, seeking the next adventure.
My first love in life was - and is - music, especially church music. Had life gone according to plan, by this time in life I would have been an accomplished composer/ conductor, lauded in praise by those in that field. But, God had other plans for my journey. A 12-year tenure as a church youth director, five seasons in sales with a minor league baseball team, finally back to church music for six years and then pfffffft
Seeking out what I would do next, I did have a small fallback in the side gigs of sports writing and scorekeeping for a minor league team that I thought would keep me afloat until the next church position opened up. A job at a small church came, one I thought would be temporary, but as nothing full-time came about, I looked for something to keep me going fulltime until I figured life out.
To put food on the table, I became an Uber driver in October of 2015 and the gig was interesting. I've always loved to drive and this allowed me to fold a fulltime job into the other things I did. I made the best of the situation and I got to know the city of Charlotte well. The hours I kept were long with the sleep patterns constantly shifting. For example, I would work Friday and Saturday nights until at least 3 a.m., then be up at 3 a.m. Monday morning to hit the start-of-the-week airport runs out of Charlotte airport.
However, the people I encountered were fascinating and made the job most interesting. I had an occasional series of "Notes and Observations" detailing the things of interest to me. In sharing these, readers would say, "You really ought to write a book of your stories". My mind's response was, I didn't think I had enough of anything to say.
In January 2017, I picked up a passenger in Statesville that worked for an automobile relocation company. His job was simply to move vehicles around the country. Doing some research into his company, I thought I could do this. Five years later, here I am.
The job has allowed me to write, cover sports, scorekeep, I'm still at the same small church 7 years later, and life... well, life is never dull. The road is, well, from day to day, undeliberate.
Over the past five years. I been in all but 3 states east of the Rockies (the Dakotas and Nebraska). I have seen some of the most beautiful God-blessed creation, eaten incredible food - to the point I've listed over 350 of them on a Google Maps list ( https://goo.gl/maps/oP1vGnJSj4GGg5t66 )
As I share on social media my trips, the feedback remains "you ought to do a book" So, here I am. I'm going to pursue a book.
As I considered what I would write about, several things have come to mind. Travel is a major consideration, of course. Since I was little, I've always had this fascination with a Rand McNally atlas, taking a finger and following roads, from beginning to end, seeing what cities and states were crossed. It was a thrill in my 20s to drive I-10, I-20 and I-40, each in their entirety. I have a 2022 atlas by my bed now.
So, in my job, when time allows, I take a day to meander along a side route and stop frequently, take pictures, read the historical signs, stop at the roadside stands, eat at the mom-and-pop eateries.
With that said, I can see a large focus of mine encouraging folks to look for their own wanderlusts. But, in the travels, my mind has time to process things in life about family and faith and life in general, and I write of those things as well.
But, if truth be told, I'm not sure what the final project(s) outcome(s) will be. Truly, it could die on the bed of my future disinterest. However, at age 59, I think I have something to bring to readers.
As I pursue a book, this blog will be my chalkboard for ideas of what I eventually pursue. I can see posting old stories and writings here, as a sort of an archival room. But it will mostly be posts of journeys I've yet to take - driving and other pursuits.
In considering all of this, a title came to mind The Undeliberate Road and it is a play on Thoreau's famous quote from "Walden". Thoreau sought out ways to live life on just the basics to see what life had truly to offer him. His fear was to live life, having not lived.
I think there is much truth to Thoreau's quote, as he sought to get away from thr trappings of mid-19th century America. In our 21st century world, we, too, are beholden to the trappings of our times.
I think we have forgotten what it's like to wonder and seek and explore and find the road less taken. Anymore, our homes are the same - uninspired boxes of townhomes and row houses. Our foods are increasingly the same with chains that can offer the same menu items prepared exactly the same way in Key West as it is in Seattle. Broadcast medias have continued to chip away at regional accents. Truly, more and more, I think, we are losing our desire "to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life". The thought of having robotic overlords in the future doesn't seem as far-fetched as 20 years ago. For, we are becoming those impersonal creatures.
My hope is to encourage readers to seek out the random. Stop and have the unique dessert from the downtown bakery. Observe the open wheat field. Listen to the brook skipping spray over the water. Learn of whose paths you once crossed.
For life is so much more than the mundane structure of the daily routine - it is meant to be embraced... undeliberately.
NC Hwy 73, Lincoln/ Mecklenburg County Line