‘Desktop’ of life

One thing I think everyone likes about road trips is that they simplify one’s life greatly for the duration.
Most of us have busy complicated lives, many obligations, a web of things to take care of, deal with.
A job, boss & fellow employees.
A family – spouse, kids and all they are involved in.
Your parents, your in-laws.
A few clubs/groups involved in your special interests.
And everything financial – rent? a mortgage? Bills? Oh, plenty of those, gotta be on time every month or else.
Saving for retirement/investments, kid’s college fund….
Health insurance? now there’s a big one, fer sure.
Call all these things the ‘desktop of your life’, like folder aliases scattered all over your computer screen.

My life is much simpler than all the stuff described above, but paring it down to that motel desktop is still refreshing.

When you hit the road, that desktop shrinks dramatically, the items of concern can be spread out on the usual 2×6′ desk/dresser in your motel room, the one w/ a bible and local phone book in a drawer, and perhaps some brochures for local attractions.
When we disgorge whatever we have onto that space is our life simplified to the basics. Which i think is a very good thing.
But i suspect you are thinking by now… ‘But!…I’ve gotta check my email!, my iPhone!, my blackberry!… where’s the wifi in my motel room?!
Ya know what I think? Turn it ALL off!

You are traveling to experience the world, as it unfolds before you.
As long as you’ve started?… WhyTF give up on what is surely a good thing?
A writer of much greater stature than myself has come to my rescue with a short but eloquent article in the most recent Atlantic Monthly. It is well worth your time:

Being There – By Robert Kaplan.
“Put down your smartphone—the art of travel demands the end of multitasking.”
Photo: Henry Lin/First Light/Corbis
(I don’t know where this was taken, but it reminds me very much of growing up in Maine, going down to the coast, going out on small fishing boats w/ family friends, catching enough for dinner… frying it up… and the parents/grown-ups probably drank a bit too much. But nobody cared about that – a good time was had by all.)

Two great quotes from this article:

“The media tell us how lucky we are to live in the Information Age. I believe we have created a hell on Earth for ourselves.”

“Travel is like a good, challenging book: it demands presentness—the ability to live completely in the moment, absorbed in the words or vision of reality before you.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/11/being-there/309108/

Ignore this at your peril.

This months links of interest:
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Colorado switch-backs… and ‘the shining’
By AMY THOMAS – Published: October 19, 2012
The Stanley Hotel is a gleaming white Georgian-style building that looms over Route 34 on the way into downtown Estes Park, a small town about 70 miles northwest of Denver. F. O. Stanley, who with his brother F. E. Stanley invented the Stanley Steamer automobile, built the 24,000-square-foot structure so his wife, Flora, could host her steady stream of visiting socialite friends. It proved so popular, and the area was so pretty, the couple opened it as a hotel on July 4, 1909.
Yes, that Stanley Hotel: the one etched in every horror movie buff’s mind, thanks to Stephen King’s terrifying novel “The Shining,” and Stanley Kubrick’s equally terrifying 1980 movie of the same name.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/travel/in-colorado-switchbacks-and-the-shining.html?hpw
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California in My Mind
Published: October 19, 2012
By Jeff Gordinier

http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/travel/california-in-my-mind.html?hpw

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Everyone Eats There
California’s Central Valley is our greatest food resource. So why are we treating it so badly?
“….I left Los Angeles at 4 in the morning, long before first light, and made it to Bakersfield — the land of oil derricks, lowriders and truck stops with Punjabi food — by 6. Ten minutes later, I was in the land of carrots….”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/californias-central-valley-land-of-a-billion-vegetables.html
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Good advice!!

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/tour-american-west-3614.html
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http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/road-trips

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/road-trips/articles/pacific-northwest-road-trips
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http://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/Route-66-still-has-some-kicks-3922406.php

http://www.sfgate.com/travel/fiveplaces/article/5-places-for-lava-lovers-to-visit-3814002.php
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I got another destination for ‘lava lovers’:
Sunset Crater Nat’l Monument, just north of Flagstaff, AZ.
A TOTALLY surreal landscape!
http://www.nps.gov/sucr/index.htm
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Video: Wonders of the High Sierra
http://blog.sfgate.com/travel/2012/08/27/video-wonders-of-the-high-sierra/
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Mount Shasta dreamin’: 30-pic photo adventure
(I’ve driven up I-5, on the way to Oregon – Mt. Shasta is visible from over 150 miles away, it towers over the land, the peak covered w/ snow year round. It is quite a sight!)

A blog post by the SF Chronicle’s Outdoors writer, many pictures to get a taste of the place.
http://blog.sfgate.com/stienstra/2012/08/09/mount-shasta-dreamin-30-pic-photo-adventure/
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Ultimate Road Trips
Sometimes it’s the journey, sometimes it’s the destination—and sometimes, it’s both. National Geographic Traveler has scoured the globe for the world’s most beautiful, interesting, and off-beat road trips. Dive in to get directions, quizzes, photos, and more.

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/
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America’s South West contains many deserts filled with areas of immense beauty and natural wonders.
Starting in Las Vegas, today’s host Chris Christensen takes us west on an American road trip to four beautiful spots:

http://indietravelpodcast.com/usa/southwest-america-road-trip/
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If you think any road trip in the US is a bit tough… you ain’t seen nuthin yet.
The world’s most extreme road trips
By Jess Lee, LonelyPlanet.com
updated 8:10 AM EDT, Wed October 24, 2012

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/24/travel/extreme-road-trips/index.html?hpt=hp_bn10

Like the Terminator said… (he-he!) “I’ll be back” 🙂