Cross-Country Chronicles: Perspective Matters

It seems like just yesterday that I hopped into my car and set off for my big California adventure. I blogged a lot about the trip there, including the people I spent time with along the way and the lessons I learned about perseverance (1 & 2). The trip out to California was long and exhausting. I knew the trip home would be similar, but there was one defining factor that would make this one better: I would have company for two of the three days.

Enter Kourtney.

Kourtney has been my best friend since we were 5. We have been through thick and thin together. She flew into Salt Lake City to meet me, and helped me finish my second great cross-country drive.

On the way to California, Nevada was the last big hurdle I had to overcome to reach my destination. It was big, brown, boring, and lonely. I remember having a few temper tantrums about how much I hated Nevada. It was the third day of driving, I was tired of being in the car, and I was ready to spend some time doing nothing but breathing. I hated Nevada on my way to California.

On the way home, Nevada become a different animal. It was the first state I crossed into as I left my temporary home of California. It was a bittersweet moment, realizing I was really leaving to go home. Rather than being the last big obstacle between me and California, though, Nevada became the last big obstacle between me and a reunion with my best friend. Rather than crossing it on the third day, I was driving across it on the first.

Suddenly, Nevada didn’t seem to bad. I realized that my distaste for Nevada had been situational, based on the fact that when I drove through it, I had been cranky, tired, and fed up with driving. Conversely, on my trip to California, I had loved Nebraska and Iowa. On the trip home, even with Kourtney, it seemed like those states lasted forever and a day. We couldn’t get to the Illinois border fast enough on that last morning.

Kourtney managed to snap this picture of the Nebraska state sign as we crossed through on our way out of Wyoming.

So, you see: my perspective and situation influenced my view of each state as I drove through it. It wasn’t that I liked Iowa or Nebraska more in June than I did in August. It wasn’t that I hated Nevada more or less at any specific time. It was the simple fact that the amount of time spent in the car and my state of mind about driving had a profound influence on the way I viewed my surroundings.

Even as I hated driving through the midwestern countryside, though, I have to admit…there is something beautiful about a deep green corn field topped with golden-brown tassels.


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