adventure road trip

I keep driving by this billboard. It’s promoting a concert and hot air balloon festival coming up later this week, and I want to go. But, until just now, I hadn’t bothered telling anyone I wanted to go. So, odds are, I’m not going to go.

When I take personality tests, I’m always right on the border between extrovert and introvert. And my relationship with adventure is evidence of that tension. Sometimes I’m all in (ALL! IN!), making plans and recruiting sidekicks or navigators or partners in crime. I’m putting dates on calendars and figuring out where we should meet and saying, “Why not? Who cares if it’s awful/awkward/weird?” Other times, though, I remember that my husband works nights and that we have two small children and a budget and that no matter what my Facebook profile says I often feel like I have no friends.

For someone sitting on the border, I sure am one extreme or the other.

But more often than not, when it comes to adventure, I land on the side of, “Let’s do it!” and, “Hey, we should go to this cheesy/silly/cliched thing!” and even, “Come on…it will be fun! Or at least we’ll get a good story out of it!”

The fun part about the times when my adventurous side wins out and I convince my friend or my husband or my brother (or, best of all, all of the above) to join me is that we often end up with a story — just not always the kind we anticipated. Attempting an adventure sometimes means getting caught in a rainstorm or getting lost on the back roads, spending money on a terrible show or eating cheap Mexican food after leaving the restaurant with the two-hour wait. Sometimes it means driving all the way there, getting frustrated when you can’t find a parking space, and then driving all the way back home without any adventure at all. Except…sometimes the drive WAS the adventure. You know?

My friend has a band, and as it’s grown and found more success, our other friends have supported it by attending shows, manning merchandise tables, buying shirts, and the like. I’ve supported it with my good intentions and warm thoughts, mostly, because that thing where my husband works nights and my kids can’t watch themselves means that most late-night shows at the club are out for me.

But last week, I saw a post on Facebook announcing a free show that started before my girls’ bedtime — and it wasn’t even on a school night. So my brother and I made plans to go, and my parents even offered to keep the girls overnight. I invited a couple other friends, but one had other plans and one got caught up at the last minute. That worked out okay because my brother and I had plenty of time to chat over our You Pick Two dinners at Panera.

(I know. Big adventure there, right?) (But whatever. I was out on a Friday night, which I am normally not, so it was pretty exciting for me, even in a deserted chain cafe.)

We didn’t want to be the first people to show up at the concert, plus we were talking long after our half sandwiches were gone. But after about an hour, we headed across the street to see the show. It was still pretty early; the sun was out, so I wasn’t sure how rocking this gig would be. But it turned out to be not rocking at all. Because the sun was quickly being covered by thick clouds, and the forecast for storms seemed about to come true. The band was packing up.

We missed the entire show!

Now, we did walk around for a bit after that, sweating and searching for other musicians (that my brother swore were supposed to be there). We caught the last few chords of a girl with a ukelele, but she handed things off to a keyboard-playing street singer. Since we had walked about two miles at that point (or, according to my brother, two blocks BUT WHATEVER IT WAS MUGGY AND I WAS HOT), we sat down to listen to him. He played Billy Joel, ZZ Top and Kenny Chesney. And since the other guy in the audience (I suppose if you aren’t walking right by, you’re part of a street performer’s audience?) had requested Burt Bacharach, we decided to just head home.

I did get caught in that rainstorm after dropping off my brother, so I pulled over into the Dairy Queen parking lot. I savored my Oreo Blizzard and chuckled to myself about my exciting Friday night. When I got home I found an indie chick flick I’d had on my Netflix list for a while and kicked back to watch.

It wasn’t much of an adventure by anyone’s measure, I’m sure. But we did get a story out of it! And I won’t let it — the missed concert, the canceled plans, the thunderstorm or the movie alone — stop me from trying again. Because sometimes the adventure is in the drive. And sometimes the adventure is something completely different than you anticipated. And sometimes, every once in a great while, the adventure is actually great enough to keep me trying again.

Attempting adventure — again and again — works for me!


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