Adventure is a funny thing. We have heard the word used and over-used on so many occasions, but have you ever stopped to truly think about what it means? Adventure is the only thing that you can spend all you have, yet somehow make even more.
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to embark on a journey in which we visited thirteen states. “The Great Westward Adventure” changed me, and also my outlook on this beautiful nation I am privileged to live in.
The Pacific Northwest region is exquisite, somewhat uncharted territory. We left from Arkansas and visited Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri.
The trip was partially to help us find ourselves, but in ways we found so much than we anticipated.
We camped in a tipi in North Dakota, visited national parks in which we witnesses wild buffalo walking right beside our vehicle. In South Dakota we saw quaint small towns and of course the not so quaint Mt. Rushmore. After camping out, Montana gave a gorgeous display of God’s handiwork with cascading, snow capped mountains and crystal clear streams and rivers. The views were breath taking in every sense of the word. The majesty of the mountains took our breath away, as well as the hike up them.
Washington had a variety of activities from coffee and ferry rides in Seattle to awe-inspiring mountain ranges in Olympic National Park, Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainer. Oregon might have put the icing on the cake of adventure for me. We stayed in downtown Portland the very same week as the Rose Festival, a carnival and Fleet Week. That being said, there were sailors in uniform everywhere we looked. That sight was almost as pretty as the mountain ranges.
When we departed the city we drove to Multnomah Falls and Oneonta Gorge. The waterfalls were lovely to say the least. The last sight of Oregon we took in was the incredible coastal region. Thor’s Well, The mighty waves and even the fog struck wonder into our hearts.
Unfortunately our trip was cut short in Idaho when we were involved in accident. We were driving at about eighty-five miles an hour when we unexplainably lost control and began spinning toward oncoming traffic. We flipped three times. The vehicle came to an abrupt halt, landing upside down leaving us having to crawl out of the driver’s side window. My friend and I walked away from that horrifying accident with only some bruises and scrapes. During the petrifying events, I never had one of those “life flash before your eyes” kind of moments. In an unexplainable sort of way, I knew that everything was going to be all right.
After our hospital stay and one night’s rest, We finished the trip in a rental car hitting Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado and Missouri. Even though the accident took place, this trip was indeed the best one of my life.
We saw gorgeous views, met great people and more than anything, we made memories that will last a lifetime.
I am well aware that this piece was meant to highlight Independence, or a place that makes me feel free to be myself. If you really think about it, that is exactly what I have done. You see, there is not one specific place I can pinpoint that gives me this feeling, but rather the open road itself. It is there that all distractions seem to dissipate and the journeys begin to unfold. In between the white lines on the road is wherethe stories are made.
The beauty of adventure is also found here. I can choose anywhere I want to go, drive anything I want to drive, see anything my heart and eyes desire, and ultimately, expand my horizons and discover things I have never seen before. Travel is the most enlightening forms of independence. It is freeing and it is wide open. The road is waiting, where will it take you next?
About the Author:
Rachel is a writer for a youth magazine and also has a bi-weekely blog. She is a recent graduate of Ushan College and an avid traveler and adventure seeker. She enjoys photography, nature, painting, reading and exploring.
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