We started the road trip at my sister and brother-in-law's place on our way down to the Ozarks. We are near the end now as we gather at my brother and sister-in-law's place to celebrate my niece and nephew's birthdays.
I know that traveling becomes so much about the place for me at times. My pictures are largely scenery with the boys mixed in here and there. And while places are important--they show us much of God's handiwork and majesty--they should never come before people.
It's not easy for me as an introvert to strike up conversation. I would have loved to had more interaction with people along the way. We had some with park rangers, the older group of women on the hiking trail, the woman in the campsite next to us who pointed out the albino squirrel, the homeless man on the side of the road whom we gave some food to today. But I need to keep learning to love.
There are many things that I hope my boys are learning as we do things like this trip together: build a good campfire, enjoy a good hike, identify constellations, pick out species of birds, trees, and plants, etc. But I hope I teach them better about how to love others.
Tomorrow morning we do the last leg of our trip north to get home. We all miss Beth. We miss our beds. We're ready to be done in the car for a while. We managed to travel through 5 states, camping in three of them, enjoying their beauty and their great outdoors as spring arrives. We visited places we hadn't been to before.
I would do it again some day if Spring Break ever comes this late in the year again. I would do it a little differently now that we know the area. If the weather cooperated I would spend most of our time in the mountains of Arkansas at the State Park we stayed at where there were many good options for hiking and enjoying the outdoors. We were near a few Civil War battlefields that I would like to explore with the boys. There was a Native American Museum in a town that would be good for educating them. I would try to spend less time in the car and more time outside.
I'm not sure I'm ready for the week ahead. I'm not ready to unpack and clean things up and put things away. I'm not ready to be back in the day-to-day swing of things. But back to those things I must go. And so I will with a little more fresh air in my lungs, with the fragrance of dogwood blossoms in my nostrils, and with a rugged, mountaineering spring in my step. And hopefully I'll keep remembering to focus on the people around me in whatever place I'm in.