We only need travel enough to give our intellect an airing. – Henry David Thoreau, Diary entry, November 20, 1857
Thoreau had a lot of skills as a writer. One of our favorites is reducing life down to its most basic level. Whether he was advising us to proceed confidently in the direction of our dreams or telling us he went to the woods because he wished to live deliberately and front only the essential facts of life, Thoreau provided the framework for a good life in few words.
Today’s thought does this, too. Traveling, of course, is a favorite pastime of a lot of, perhaps most, people. We even enjoy it ourselves and like most others we’ve done our share of traveling, mainly road trips.
Our own experience is Thoreau is correct. We need to get out of our everyday lives for a while.
This is true for writers. Like most writers, we have our share of projects going on. Every day we write The Diary of a Nobody, we started writing a new novel recently and even had a part-time gig doing some copywriting. And I’m running for Congress, the Libertarian nominee from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. The mind had been doing a significant amount of work the past few month and I needed a break. We had been so busy, in fact, this feature had even taken a modest hiatus.
A road trip with my wife’s daughter provided the perfect escape. I flew down to San Diego to supervise her discharge from the Navy, and from there we took her car to Los Angeles and then Boise, before heading to the family home in Colorado.
I stopped writing a couple of days into the trip. There was no desire to, rare because like most artists I write from an inner compulsion, not in response to outside influences. Not only did I not write, I didn’t even think about writing, even rarer because every person is a character and every situation a plot and good luck chasing plots and characters out of a writer’s mind.
You can’t spend your life on vacation, of course, and it was good to return home. I was back at the keyboard within a half-hour of returning home. The break was as necessary as it was beneficial. The intellect had gotten its airing and was back to humming on all cylinders.
It’s a lesson can we can all benefit from. Everyday life gets, well, awfully every day at times and it’s good to get away.
And it’s good to get back.