I was nervous. A reporter from the local news fidgeted with my mic then attached it to my shirt. I sat down under the glare of those huge lights that look like silver umbrellas. The cameraman watched us through his lens, then turned to the news anchor.
“We’re good,” he said.
For the next ten minutes or so we talked about the four-month trip my family had been on: life on the bus, life on the road, the places we’d seen. I thought we were finished.
“One more question,” he said. “Did you change on this trip?”
Did I change on this trip?
For the first time during the interview I was speechless. My glance slid off to the side. I kind of held my breath.
How did I change on this trip?
* * * * *
You can’t go on a 10,000 mile trip without changing. You can’t visit thirty-some states, or see Native Americans living in poverty, or see joy light up someone’s face when you give them a quarter without feeling something crucial slide inside of you, like the shifting of continents. You can’t get a 40-foot bus stuck in a ditch, or arrive at Yellowstone late at night only to discover you have no power, or lose your brakes at 8400 hundred feet while crossing the Teton Pass, without changing.
I knew I had changed. But how?
I stared at the news anchor, took a deep breath, and I stumbled through my answer. But the truth was, I couldn’t identify it. I knew I had changed: I felt differently, I thought differently, I looked at the world differently. Yet beyond those huge generalities, I couldn’t verbalize the specifics.
* * * * *
For the last week I’ve thought back over that question, and I’m still struggling to articulate the answer. How have I changed?
I’m less inclined to give in to the pressure to live a life resembling everyone else’s.
I’m less concerned about the future than I have been for a long time (most days).
I’m more open to embarking on mini-adventures during a typical day – I used to feel rather glued to the comfort of my desk chair or, in the evening, the safety of the living room.
Still, I search myself for further evidence of change. I wonder if the space given by more time will help me see more clearly.
How have your adventures in life changed you?
* * * * *
This post is part of a blog carnival about travel stories over at Prodigal Magazine. Check out the other contributors HERE.