The Open Road


I have never been a good traveler. As a child, I suffered from motion sickness, making the 8 hour drive to visit my grandparents a certain form of torture, for me and my family. As a teen, on my first airplane trip, I became well acquainted with the barf bag, endearing me to my seatmates and the kindly flight attendant.  As an adult, driving for more than two hours was agony – boredom at watching the mile markers slowly tick by, the monotony of staring at the ribbon of asphalt for miles on end.

Today, I no longer suffer from motion sickness and books on CD make distance driving tolerable, sometimes even enjoyable. While I love the IDEA of traveling to far-flung and exotic places, the reality is that I do not have a travelers mind set, a willingness to leave the familiar, my routine and the known comforts of home. Strange food and strange beds are not novelties for me, just uncomfortable. While exploring the world with nothing but a backpack sounds exciting, I recognize that such a journey is not something that I would enjoy. A desire for such experiences is instead an expression of trying to be someone that I am not.

And yet, I feel a new stirring to move beyond my home boundaries. Photography has given me another gift—a desire to explore with camera in hand. I itch to capture images of new places, architecture, urban abstracts and street art. While I love the thrill of finding something fresh in the familiar, a desire to sample the unknown is awakening in me.

No, you won’t find me trekking through Nepal, backpacking through India or seeing Europe by high-speed rail. For now, at least, I think we’ll stick closer to home – exploring America’s midwest. We will begin our journey with a car loaded with my favorite pillow, my regular breakfast cereal, granola bars and yogurt. A route will be mapped and hotel reservations made. I will program the GPS and load up a good book on the CD player. Surrounded by the familiar, joined by my husband and partner, I will be ready to experience the open road. Camera in hand.

Credit: Texture by Kim Klassen


Posted on June 10, 2011, in Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hi Brenda,
    Really enjoyed this post! I can really relate to how photography creates a desire to go out and explore past your usual boundaries – I find the rare occasion I do leave the house without camera in hand, I almost always ‘see’ something and have such remorse for deciding not to bring my gear.

    I can’t wait to see what you capture on your Open Road adventure.

    If you ever considered visiting a few places in Canada, I think you’d absolutely love Montreal and Quebec City (I was born in Montreal, spent high school years in Quebec City) – so much architectural beauty in those cities. Not as far as travelling to a far-off land, but definitely feels like you’re in Europe somewhat.

    • Carole – you are SO right about those times when you DON’T have camera in hand. I guess that is the way that photography teaches us to always be ready.

      And certainly Montreal and Quebec City would make it on my list of “open road” cities that I would love to visit. If and when a trip is forthcoming, I will certainly get your advice on “absolutely-must-see” places.

  2. Hi Brenda,

    Another fabulous post! I love the way your writing threads in and out of humor, honesty, and a really genuine take on art and artistry. We’re on vacation now and I have my writer’s notebook out all the time. It eases my discomfort with the unfamiliar or the bumps along the way (and, traveling with a 4 year old and 7 year old, there are plenty of bumps).
    Thanks for these insights.

    • Lisa, you simply cannot know how grateful I am for your comments. I entered this world of blogging as a way to share my visual creativity and really questioned (and continue to question) my ability to put things into words. Thank you.

      Ahhh…my days of vacations with little ones are over (at least until our grandson is old enough to join Pop-pop and Mom-mom on trips). Enjoy it all, bumps included.

  3. Love this post Brenda! I am glad that Adam & I will have a slightly new place for you to come visit this fall. Chapel Hill is sure to have some textures, shadows and street art for you to capture.

    • Kaileen – I am definitely looknig forward to making a trip to Chapel Hill in the fall. Certainly for the superior company but also for the opportunity to explore a new place. Hopefully, NC weather will cooperate this time and provide plenty of sunshine (and therefore shadows).

  1. Pingback: The Art of Reinvention | How to Feather an Empty Nest

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