Finding myself looking at a map of the Midwest, I had quite a drive to get to Washington State. As someone born and raised on the east coast of the U.S, the Midwest was a region of the country that quite honestly really held no interest to me. However here I was driving towards Omaha,NE.
I'm one that's open to the unexpectedness of it all so I thought "let's see what this region has to offer". On my drive towards Omaha I begin to notice something that was changing scenically. I drove more and more into the mid sections of this country and I begin to realize the vastness of it all. I could look out in both directions of my car and see miles and miles of open land.
Driving down the east coast was familiar. It was as if the collective people who constructed it had a feeling of compactness in mind. You're always surrounded by something, buildings, trees, life (at least it felt as such). In the Midwest I encountered the true magnitude of this open land. It was weird, new, and honestly somewhat daunting.
I stopped in Omaha and ventured about for the day. The city was quite lovely. There was a section called the "Old Market" that had tons of local shops and restaurants to enjoy, a very unique feeling to it. It was something I was pleasantly surprised by.
It is here where I will see a land so pristine, so untouched, as I ride through I am left in utter amazement!
Now I've seen some pretty picturesque places, the jungles of Guatemala, the open deserts of Kuwait, the villages of Europe, but this, this was different.
Here on my very own land I saw something unexpected, beauty in its purest form. As I drove past Nebraska, I began to leave the corn fields behind and drove into a land so fresh, so unlike anything I had ever encountered.
What I saw in Wyoming was freedom. Not only me, not only my car, not only our adventure, the land was free; the animals were free, all free.
I stopped at a rest area and encountered an attached visitor center; here I read some facts about the state. One that particular stood out to me was the fact that 56% of the land in Wyoming is left untouched.
I was born in the smallest state in the country. Most every encounter I ever had while traveling in the US was centered on urban, city landscapes. But here I was in the midst of the natural world. Here man comes second and nature reigns supreme.
As I drove by the state I was in awe! I would drive be scenic mountains one moment, the next by cool desert. It was the land I had only seen in films, never with these young eyes.
Behind the steering wheel I drove in utter respect of that which surrounded me. I knew in this moment how insignificant I was to this natural world that we inhabit.
As the night approached I stopped at a rest area. All I could see was mountains on one side, desert terrain in the far corner of my eye on the other. I was honored to call this my resting place this night. I knew this moment was singular it would likely not come my way, in this fashion ever again in my life. In this immense state of freedom all I could feel is the connection I have with this notion of travel, exploration, and living life to its fullest.
This experience would forever be engrained in my mind, a seed of experience that would sprout future adventures, but none quite like this.
I awoke the next day fully encapsulated by this experience and where it had taken me, I smiled.
After my daily morning routine I was in my car and continued onward. This experience was coming to an end, it was one which scared me, which challenged me, which grew me.
Hours and Hours later I entered the location which would birth a new beginning, an unexpected path, another way of life.
As I entered Washington state I thought "We had made it" -- "we did it"
The GPS read less than a mile out, I pull into the parking area and see my little one.
She not having a clue what I have just experienced, me grateful for what has occurred and glad to see that small loving face.
She yells “Daddy, that's my daddy!" to her cousins.
I look at her, smile, park the car...and think