I'm told that everyone experiences that feeling, that impulse. The need to just go, go somewhere, go anywhere.
Well, I did it.
At 1am on June 25th, 2011, I climbed into the front seat of my car with nothing but determination, adrenaline, and a little hysteria. There was no plan in mind, no ultimate destination. No one knew where I was going, not even me. I have never felt more free than in that moment.
Of course, that's when I began to scare myself. While taking the ramp to the highway, I felt an urge to toss my phone out the window and never look back. I wanted to rid myself of all of my artificial connections to the world and the relationships that I never quite put enough effort into maintaining. I could be cleansed of my pointless responsibilities and develop new ones that actually matter to me in a whole new place.
After having these thoughts and yearning for all of the possibilities, I panicked a bit. I am extremely close to everyone in my immediate family, and it would kill them if I was just gone. I could never do that to them, no matter how tempted I was. Plus, there is the fact that until I turn eighteen, I would essentially be homeless. And, you know, it makes no sense in general and would never work. I would be hunted down and dragged back home, forced to face the hostility of everyone I'd tried to leave behind.
So instead, I tweeted. I used twitter as a way to alert my friend that lives in another country, another continent even, to the fact that I'd lost my mind. Though I was too irrational for any sensible analyzation of my thoughts to be possible, I think I just wanted someone to convince me to go home. Just about anyone would have tried, but the fact that he was too far away to actually be able to make me turn my car around was comforting.
In retrospect, I feel absolutely terrible for worrying him. I basically scared all of my friends shitless, as I was clearly having some sort of breakdown. Even at the time, I felt incredibly guilty that everyone was so concerned, but I couldn't bring myself to turn around. I chose the most selfish route I have ever taken in my life by simply moving forward.
I drove for thirteen hours, with nothing but my thoughts and The Shins accompanying me. I only got out of my car three times; twice to fill up the fuel tank, and once to look out across the hills below me in West Virginia. Driving in the pitch-black of 1am, the hazy almost-sunlight of 5am, and the too-bright yellow of 12pm in one single, pointless, solitary roadtrip was the most amazing experience. I don't even know how to articulate what I was feeling, but it was the best night/day of my life. I suppose I was searching for some sort of epiphany, and I definitely feel as if I found it, just maybe not in the way that I expected.
Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating doing something irrational and irresponsible that will freak everyone around you the fuck out. I'm just saying, I can't pretend that I regret my spontaneous decision to just get in the car and follow the road by nothing but instinct.