"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, December 30, 2017

On The Road

Best personal license plate I saw this year.
Virginia, March 2017
For me road trips conjure up memories of long hours of playing the "license plate game" (trying to spot license plates from all the states and provinces), managing snacks and bathroom breaks for the Rascals, and staring endlessly at road maps until the car sickness sets in.

I know we're all supposed to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, but I definitely prefer the destination.

There is a romanticized version of the American road trip, and it doesn't involve a backseat of young children and frequent stops at Cracker Barrel restaurants.  It's the convertible on the open road, the innocence of 1950's America, and a rebellious youthfulness.  All of these ideals are encapsulated in Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel On the Road.

This novel always reminds me of my sister, who had an obsession with not just the novel but with Kerouac and his Beat movement counterparts.  I think she loved the idea of their freedom, their non-conformity, and she didn't shy away from the dark edge to their lives and beliefs.
My sister and I are not very alike in many ways but siblings "get" each other nonetheless, and in our lives there are few relationships more important than with those with whom we share so much: parents, childhood, and that often painful transition from adolescent to an individual.

I've been thinking of my sister quite a bit the last few days because today is her birthday, and in anticipation of the day I've been trying to reach her on her cell and by email with no success.
I haven't heard from her since my own birthday back in June, when she sent me a delightful (if unusually short) birthday email.

Carolyn has been "on the road" since May, travelling with a friend in a van kitted out for campsites.  The last we heard from her they were in California, but headed to Arizona.
I have an uneasy feeling which I'm hoping will be chased away today by a phone call from her.
Tell me about your siblings, do they live near to you? Are you very alike? Have you ever had a period in your life when you didn't know quite where they were?


  1. I'm an only child and have always wished for siblings. I hope your sister is safe and sound and connects with you for her birthday. Xx

    1. Thanks Jen, she did not. I will keep trying though!
      Thanks Jen xx

  2. I am one of five and am close to one brother but relationships with the others are so fraught with conflict. Hope your sister is safe.


    1. slf, like you I have a brother I am very close to, thank heavens for him. Five children is a big family! I hope someday the conflicts resolve, that sounds difficult.
      Thank you! xx

  3. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!
    SHE is not answering........well I guess charging a phone is a difficult thing in CAMPSITES!
    SINCE JUNE????!!!!!!!!!
    I too am an ONLY CHILD.................animals as pets were IMPORTANT TO ME!
    HUGS TO YOU........I have taken a little nap from the emails and am SO BEHIND with YOUR POSTS PLEASE FORGIVE ME!!!!!!!

    1. Hello Dear Contessa, no word!
      My father is not as worried as my brother and I so we're trying to channel that, not easy! We heard from her friend who says she's fine, so I guess she's just chosen to be non-communicative. But I don't like it!
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I can just visual you as a child with your pets, your love of animals has clearly been a constant your entire life! xx

  4. Hi Dani,
    I have 2 sisters and a brother who much to his 3 children’s delight, I call “ my favourite brother”. I get on really well with him. He’s a lovely gentle man and a wonderful father. I know my sister in law thinks he’s pretty good as a husband too!
    I’m not like my brother in certain matters. I think that keeps our conversations flowing.
    I just read your post after updating my sisters on our travels and New Year’s Eve plans. We’re very close and always have been. I’m the middle sister. My brother is the youngest.
    If i’m Having an issue, I ask my sisters. I can sense if my sisters are in a bind about a matter. I might disagree with them about things but would crawl over broken glass for them.
    Our mum’s death was very hard but we helped each other enormously and now work together, higgledy piggeldy, to make sure our 86 year old dad is ok.
    Whilst we all live in Sydney, I live the furthest and it takes an hour to drive from our home to the homes of my brother and youngest sister. My oldest sister lives much closer, only a 10- 15 minute drive away .
    Between us, we have 7 children and the cousins are extremely close. We all love that about our kids. Normally, every December/ January we rent a huge house that sleeps all of us. This is the first year we haven’t done it. Our kids really miss the cousins so it’s back on next year.
    I haven’t ever not known where my siblings were. I would feel lost without knowing their whereabouts. I too believe in gut instinct. I really hope your sister is ok. Den xx

    1. Den your family sounds ideal! How fortunate for your father too that he has all of you. You must be such a comfort to him after the loss of your Mum. I'm so sorry you went through such a tough loss.
      One of the best things about your close family is the gift you've given to your children of a close group of cousins, clearly they've grown up together and they will always have that special bond.
      I also have a younger brother who I am very thankful for, we are very close and quite alike in many ways. The only downside is that he lives so far away, in the far north west of Canada. He's absolutely lovely and a wonderful father too, which is such a delight for me to see.
      Thank you Den for your wonderful comment! xx

  5. I'm not sure how my previous comment vanished...
    Dani, I hope your sister is all right and you and she are in my thoughts and prayers. I didn't hear from my brother for about 6 weeks but he was fine. I was getting worried, though. My other brother passed away. Tonight I'm watching the Downton Abbey marathon. I hope your sister is all right. Ann

    1. Thanks Ann!
      I'm sorry you lost your brother and it sounds like the other had you worried for a bit, isn't it upsetting not to hear anything from them?
      That sounds like a fun evening, I loved Downtown Abbey, so many good visuals! xx