luna allison tour diary number two - living in advance

more road stories from ascent contributor & spoken word artist Luna Allison

Itís December and Iím on the road again. When I was on tour in October, I decided to leave the driving to someone else and take the bus from town to town. That trip was highly structured and work-oriented, and I think there was some significance to thatóI wasnít yet comfortable with the idea of traveling for the sake of it. But this trip is simply a road trip. Itís not about work or goals and itís loosely planned to leave room for adventure.

When I left Montreal at the end of November, I knew only that Iíd be driving through the U.S. and that the trip would last about a month. That was the extent of my planning. Normally Iím all about the details, but my partner encouraged me not to lock things in beforehand, to keep it loose and see where the wind would blow us. The voice in my head replied, ďI donít think so!Ē but I hesitantly agreed to try it.

Iíve never been eager about embracing the unknown; I learned as a kid that sheer will and good planning were the best tools for manifesting what I wanted and neededóI only needed to prepare. Iíve lived by my motherís example, trying to create a feeling of safety by having a good plan in place and preparing in advance for anything that might throw a wrench in it. Living that way makes spontaneity difficult, even undesirable, and this year I began to grow tired of it. I started craving the experience of diving into something free of that thinking, free of the need to live so much in advance. Scared as I was at the prospect of free-falling into the future, I felt ready to break the habit of over-preparing.

The theme of planning versus finding out has come up repeatedly on this trip, but in more concrete ways than I expected. There have been times that Iíve asked my partner about turns Iíll need to make miles down the road (ďThat exit is in 80 miles right?), or the name of the highway I merge onto in the next state (ďIs it the I-82 Iím looking for?). Confused, sheíd ask me, ďWhy do you need to know that right now?Ē Good question. Is it because mystery tends to intimidate me? Because I want to be able to map the whole journey ahead of time so I can prepare for it?

The trouble is that itís not always possible to do thatóespecially traveling down new roads, through places that are unfamiliar to me. How much planning can I do when I donít know the people or the terrain, much less the weather? Over-planning can mean missing out on experiences, but the blowing on the wind approach feels risky to me.

Being on a trip like thisódriving down the road without much of a planóis a whole different experience. Itís a metaphor that applies to my life on a much deeper level than I would have thought. Not only is my schedule free and open, without any real goals or things to achieve, Iím not even sure of where weíre heading next or where weíre going to stay when we get there. The trip is revealed bit by bit, shedding light on the roads we choose. After traveling like this for five weeks, I can see how my life itself is a map. A map that exists, even if I donít know how to read it yet. With or without planning, it has its own integrity.

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